SHARES in Aberdeen oil and gas firm Venture Production jumped yesterday as takeover speculation mounted.
At the end of the day, the stock was up nearly 23% at 553p.
About 5million shares were traded yesterday, several times the daily average.
One analyst said the group’s attractive valuation may have caught the eye of a potential suitor.
A trader claimed Centrica had acquired a stake in Venture at 700p a share, although the firm would comment.
The shares soared the day after Venture issued an operational and trading update. Chief executive Mike Wagstaff had said the firm was well funded to make acquisitions.
He said Venture was aware of what had been happening at Oilexco North Sea, which went into administration last week after its lenders refused to give it additional funding.
Mr Wagstaff said that, in addition to cash-flow generation from production, Venture had a very strong balance sheet with significant capital resources available.
The company said it had about £200million at the year-end and a £365million five-year corporate bank loan.