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Zimbabwe: Bourse Quizzes Invictus Over Shares Spike

Senior Business Reporter

The Australia Stock Exchange (ASX) has demanded explanation from Zimbabwe focused gas and oil exploration junior, Invictus Energy, over a sudden spike in its share price and a sharp jump in volumes of stock traded in a single session last week.

Chris Hesford, ASX compliance division, wrote to Invictus Energy, which is exploring for oil and gas in Muzarabani, demanding an explanation if the company knew any information that may have triggered sudden interest in the firm’s stock.

“If the answer to question 1 is “yes”.

(a) Is IVZ relying on Listing Rule 3.1A not to announce that information under Listing Rule 3.1?

“Please note that the recent trading in IVZ’s securities would suggest to ASX that such information may have ceased to be confidential and therefore IVZ may no longer be able to rely on Listing Rule 3.1A.

“Accordingly, if the answer to this question is “yes”, you need to contact us (ASX) immediately to discuss the situation.

“(b) Can an announcement be made immediately? Please note, if the answer to this question is “no”, you need to contact us immediately to discuss requesting a trading halt.

“(c) If an announcement cannot be made immediately, why not and when is it expected that an announcement will be made?

“If the answer to question 1 is “no”, is there any other explanation that IVZ may have for the recent trading in its securities?” Mr Herford questioned.

Invictus shares jumped from 0,088 to 0,145 per share last Wednesday, promoting regulatory authorities to ask the exploration firm to indicate if it was aware of information driving the frenzied interest and spike in the price.

“Is IVZ (Invictus Zimbabwe) aware of any information concerning it that has not been announced to the market which, if known by some in the market, could explain the recent trading in its securities?”, queried Mr Hesford in his letter.

Invictus professed ignorance over any information that may have driven market interest in its shares save for disclosures it has already made to regulators regarding ongoing discussions with the Government.

“No, however, the company in its recent December 2020 quarterly activities report lodged with the ASX on January 29, 2021, confirmed that the Petroleum Exploration Development and Production Agreement (PEDPA) review had been completed by the Inter-Ministerial Committee of the Government of Zimbabwe and has been approved.

“The PEDPA provides the framework for progression of the Cabora Bassa Project through the exploration, appraisal, development and production phases and the obligations and rights of each party over the project lifecycle. The Company is awaiting execution of the agreement,” Invictus said.

Invictus also said it was not aware of any other information that may have excited the market save for recent media reports in which Mines and Mining Development Minister of Zimbabwe, Winston Chitando, confirmed the position the PEDPA.

“Yes, the agreement (PEDPA) is being finalised and it will be signed before the end of the month,” the mines minister said.

It has been a big year so far for the Australian listed Invictus Energy’s share price, which has doubled since the beginning of 2021.

Just three trading days before the ASX closed for 2020, Invictus Energy also announced it had received a farm-in offer to Geo Associates’, Invictus 80 percent shareholder, Cabora Bassa (Muzarabani) project.

Invictus has since undertaken detailed traversing and mapping across the area, identifying the optimal acquisition routes. It stated it was planning to carry out more testing at the end of the rainy season (October to April).

The company has also announced its plans to begin drilling on the Cabora Bassa in October this year.