Ophir Sells $240 Million of Stock to Fund Africa Oil Exploration

Ophir Energy Plc, a U.K. explorer focused on Africa, sold about 151 million pounds ($240 million) of new shares to expand operations in Tanzania, Kenya and Gabon.

The company sold 30.5 million shares at 495 pence each, it said today in a statement, representing about 8.3 percent of its ordinary stock prior to the sale. JPMorgan Cazenove Ltd., RBC Capital Markets and Oriel Securities Ltd. managed the sale.

Ophir’s assets are “the largest offshore acreage holding in East Africa,” Chief Executive Officer Nick Cooper said today in a separate statement. “We will continue to actively manage this portfolio and once the resource potential of a particular asset is well understood, we will work to introduce partners.”

The explorer, based in London, and BG Group Plc yesterday announced the fourth natural-gas discovery off Tanzania. The find brings the resource estimates from all four of Ophir and BG’s wells close to 7 trillion cubic feet.

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