Ex­plorer Sound En­ergy hit with $14m Moroc­can tax bill

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business -

◆ Morocco-fo­cused gas ex­plorer Sound En­ergy has been hit with a $14m (£11m) tax bill by the coun­try’s au­thor­i­ties, writes Rachel

Mil­lard.

The Aim-listed com­pany said it was fight­ing the claim, which fol­lowed an au­dit by tax au­thor­i­ties into its Moroc­can sub­sidiary, cov­er­ing 2016 to 2018 and con­nected to li­cens­ing changes.

A spokesman said: “The com­pany be­lieves that the as­sess­ment arises from a mis­un­der­stand­ing of the his­tor­i­cal li­cens­ing changes and to­gether with its ad­vis­ers, will be en­gag­ing with the Moroc­can Tax Ad­min­is­tra­tion to pro­vide clar­ity and to seek to re­solve the mis­un­der­stand­ing.” Sound En­ergy is the largest on­shore op­er­a­tor in Morocco, which im­ports around 90pc of its oil and gas from Al­ge­ria.

It has praised Morocco’s “sup­port­ive gov­ern­ment, with a de­sire to pro­mote gas de­mand in-coun­try”.

The firm is led by Gra­ham Lyon as ex­ec­u­tive chair­man, while Mo­hammed Seghiri, for­merly man­ag­ing direc­tor in Morocco, was re­cently pro­moted to chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer. It raised £1.3m in eq­uity in Jan­uary and has been cut­ting costs, amid some dis­ap­point­ing ex­plo­ration re­sults last year.

Its shares fell by more than a fifth yes­ter­day to close at 1.7p.

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