Afren interim CEO Toby Hayward. Image courtesy of Afren.

Embattled UK independent Afren won some breathing room from its creditors Monday after lenders approved a three month payment deferral for a $300 million debt facility.

Afren said it won a payment deferral for a $50 million amortization payment for a $300 million Ebok debt facility that was due January 31.

The payment is now due on March 31.

The company’s board is utilizing a 30 day grace period under its 2016 bond contracts for a $15 million interest payment that was due February 1 while it reviews its capital structure and funding alternatives.

Afren said it is holding talks with other stakeholders and a new third party investor to recapitalize the company.

“The company is continuing constructive discussions with the advisers to, and members of, the ad hoc committee of its largest bond holders regarding the immediate liquidity and funding needs of the business,” Afren said.

Afren saw its share price fall 55 percent at the end of Janurary after warning of a massive cash crunch as it tries to restructure its finances and ink a merger deal with Nigeria’s Seplat Petroleum Development Company (Seplat).

The company had a cash balance of $235 million as of December 31 but available liquidity is “significantly lower” due to restricted and segregated cash balances put in place to address operational requirements.

Afren said it is still in discussions with Seplat although “there can be no certainty that an offer will be made.”

In October Afren axed CEO Osman Shahenshah and COO Shahid Ullah after the two executives were found to have accepted $20 million in unauthorized payments from third parties.

The two men paid Afren back the funds earlier this month and the company agreed to not pursue legal proceedings.


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