UK firm Premier Oil has dismissed a news report claiming it would be forced to sell off more assets with a repayment date for almost £2 billion worth of loans approaching.
Hedge funds which own around 40% of Premier Oil’s loans have hired investment bank Lazard and lawyer Akin Gump to push for divestments, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
The report said the loans were due for repayment in May 2021, but that the company hopes to refinance its debt before May 2020.
The hedge funds could block any debt restructuring moves by Premier Oil, according to the report.
London-listed Premier dismissed the report as speculative, incorrect and misleading.
The firm said on Twitter: “Premier notes today’s media speculation that a certain group of its lenders are demanding the further disposal of assets.
“This is factually incorrect and misleading. Premier continues to expect to conclude refinancing discussions in Q1 2020.”
Premier Oil completed a long, drawn out refinancing in mid-2017. At the time, its debts topped £2bn.
Last month, the company said it had generated £234 million of free cash flow during the first 10 months of 2019, reducing its net debt from £1.82bn at the end of 2018, to £1.58bn.
In August, Premier announced that it was putting its stake in the Zama discovery in the Gulf of Mexico up for sale.
The company’s largest single producing asset is the Catcher field, which came on stream in the central North Sea in late 2017.
Premier Oil is also operator of the Tolmount project in the southern North Sea, where first gas is slated for the fourth quarter of 2020.