January 14, 2019 / 9:00 AM / a year ago

Premier Oil confirms interest in North Sea deals after report on cash call

(Reuters) - Britain’s Premier Oil Plc said on Monday it was looking to buy UK North Sea assets, after the Sunday Times reported that it was preparing to tap shareholders for cash to help it buy about $1.5 billion worth of oil fields.

The company’s shares fell as much as 12.5 percent following the report and was the top loser on the UK midcap index.

Premier Oil was in the running to pick up fields being sold by US oil giant Chevron Corp and is considering a rights issue or share placing to help pay for them should it win the auction, according to the Sunday Times report. (bit.ly/2RKKtHq)

The British oil and gas company said on Monday it was looking at opportunities to buy UK North Sea assets, but no decision had been taken to bid for assets currently being marketed by Chevron and how any deal would be financed.

Premier Oil could sell all or part of its Latin American business to help pay for the deal — and minimize the size of any share sale, the Sunday Times said, citing industry sources.

The company cut debt to $2.3 billion at the end of last year, below a previous forecast of $2.4 billion, according to a trading update last week.

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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