March 25, 2013 / 7:41 AM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-Afren reserves grow as it raises stake in Nigeria unit

LONDON, March 25 (Reuters) - Nigeria-focused oil firm Afren said it will acquire an additional 10 percent stake in its partially-owned Nigerian unit for $37 million, in a deal which will boost its reserves by almost a third.

Afren said on Monday that the deal, which arose due to a put option and is subject to the approval of its shareholders, would take its stake in First Hydrocarbon Nigeria to 54.8 percent.

The company’s proved plus probable reserves -- an estimate of recoverable oil and gas -- will rise by 29 percent to around 270 million barrels of oil equivalent as a result of the deal.

Afren also posted a 169 percent jump in annual pretax profit to $594 million, in line with analyst expectations, after more than doubling oil output in 2012.

The company, whose main producing assets are in Nigeria but which also operates in Kenya and Kurdistan, guided that it would produce between 40,000 and 47,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day this year, in line with a forecast made in January.

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