By Y Steve Hawkes, The Evening Standard
LONDON, Apr 27, 2005 — Shares in White Nile, the controversial AIM shell set up by former England cricketer Phil Edmonds, are finally set to re-list after the signing of a 25-year licensing deal that allows the company to explore for oil in South Sudan.
Stock Exchange officials have given White Nile the green light following weeks of talks with the company’s advisers.
It sets up an intriguing tug of war between short-sellers betting the shares will drop like a stone, and White Nile’s institutional backers, which include fund managers RAB Capital and Artemis. In a statement today, White Nile said trading would resume within two to three weeks, but it could be as early as Friday 6 May — still nearly three months after Edmonds requested a temporary suspension until he could disclose more details about his Sudanese deal.
White Nile was awarded a stake in a huge, 67,000 sq km exploration block by the provisional authority governing South Sudan, an autonomous region set up at the end of the country’s civil war. But regulators were unhappy to let trading resume until a formal licensing deal was in the bag. This was signed on Monday, and White Nile now hopes to begin a seismic survey in June.
Edmonds’s business partner Andrew Groves said: “A lot of people have criticised us, but it’s now all coming to fruition. This is a major breakthrough.”
White Nile’s shares were frozen at 138 1/2p after a 13-fold increase in just five days.