Week Ahead: It's make-or-break for debt-laden oil group Afren


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Long-suffering investors in Afren will decide the fate of the debt-laden oil group on Friday as its make-or-break refinancing goes to a vote.

The company, whose share price has tanked 99 per cent in a year, has pleaded with shareholders to back its controversial recapitalisation plan, arguing that it is “the only viable course of action for the business”, which otherwise faces insolvency.

The debt-for-equity swap will raise $300m (£190m) for the group but dilute the interests of shareholders to just 11 per cent.

Things are going from bad to worse for Afren, whose debt became unmanageable last year as the oil price tumbled. Last week it suspended its shares after warning that production was likely to be “materially lower” than predicted.

Elsewhere, Royal Mail updates investors on first-quarter trading on Tuesday and holds its annual meeting on Thursday. Its shares plunged on Friday when regulator Ofcom revealed the extent of its review into the business.

Shire’s second-quarter results, due on Thursday, will show the drugmaker’s strength as a standalone business after last year’s failed takeover by AbbVie.

B&Q owner Kingfisher, Peroni brewer SABMiller and Premier Foods join Shire with trading updates on Thursday.

Mobile giant Vodafone could provide more insight on a possible asset swap with America’s Liberty Global as it brings out a first-quarter statement on Friday. Brewer Marston’s has a third-quarter update due on the same day.

Sofa retailer DFS is set to report on trading on Wednesday, covering the period since its March IPO.

Other companies due to report this week include Johnson Matthey, Land Securities and the embattled e-invoicing company Tungsten.

The US earnings season gets into full flow. Apple unveils third-quarter earnings on Tuesday, alongside Microsoft’s fourth-quarter report and Yahoo’s second-quarter earnings. Amazon brings out its second-quarter figures on Thursday.

London-listed ARM Holdings, which designs the chips for Apple’s iPhones, has half-year results out on Wednesday.