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rEmerald Energy, unchanged at 2p, is thought to be near to acquiring Colombian oil interests which could transform the company. It has recruited Dr Keith Hewitt, formerly Texaco's man in the South American country, as a director. And Dr Hewitt, who has enjoyed remarkable exploration success in Colombia, has picked up 7.5 per cent of Emerald, becoming the oil minnow's biggest shareholder. The Colombian adventure could dwarf Emerald's existing US operations. To finance its expansion Emerald is on a cash raising exercise which will include a shareholders' claw back.

rChieftain, the insulation group, held at 41p, a 12 month high. It is thought to be trading well. Takeover speculation is also in the air, with a 70p bid said to be in the offing.