The Afren Takeover Saga Rumbles On.


Afren Petroleum

The troubled Middle East and Africa-focused oil and gas explorer revealed last month that it was in “preliminary” talks with Nigeria’s Seplat over a potential combination.

News has been scant since then and Afren went tumbling tuesday after it extended the deadline for talks to the end of the month. The longer things take, the more edgy investors are getting.

Rumours have swirled that Seplat could face a rival in the race for Afren. Investor bulletin boards were abuzz with speculation that T5 Oil & Gas could be about to gatecrash the bid with a £800 million offer of its own.

T5 is an Africa-focused start-up founded by former Tullow Oil execs. Management have publicly stated plans to list this month but punters believe they may opt for a reverse takeover instead.

Afren dipped 0.15p to 27.37p, Seplat inched 1p higher to 117p.

The mood among blue-chip traders remained subdued, with most reluctant to make any big moves ahead of major economic and political events in Europe this week. The FTSE 100 rose 18.68 points to 6604.21.

Sports Direct climbed 11.5p to 744p, with traders attributing the move to a big buy order, likely placed by a fund.

Admiral was one of the weakest on the index, 40p lower at 1412p, as Morgan Stanley warned that the hopes of improvement in the UK car insurance market this year are misplaced. Esure also suffered, down 7.6p at 226.1p.

Vedanta Resources subsidiary Hindustan Zinc revealed a 38% rise in third-quarter profits and a 10% rise in metal production, helping its parent company shoot 30.1p higher to 426.5p.

Roman Abramovich has raised his stake in gas-to-liquid fuel conversion specialist Velocys, down 5p at 129.25p. The Chelsea owner now holds 14.3% of the business.

Meanwhile Welsh financier turned tech investor Richard Griffiths has upped his stake in online video advertising company Blinkx, up 1.5p at 27.87p. Griffiths owns 8.05%.

Accesso’s US expansion continues. The company said Chicago’s biggest tourist attraction, the Navy Pier, has signed up to use Accesso’s Passport ticketing software.

Accesso, flat at 566.5p, provides queuing and ticketing technology and supplies the likes of Legoland and Thorpe Park.

Dubai-based cargo handler DP World’s is expected to have enjoyed its last day on the London Stock Exchange.

The company, flat at 1082.5p, said most of its shares were now traded on the Nasdaq Dubai exchange, where it is also listed.

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