Shares in Wentworth Resources hit a 52-week high on Thursday following the release of its annual results that saw the Oslo and London-quoted African gas explorer end the year with a cash balance of $9m.

With plans to develop onshore gasfields in southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique, the company has had its share price double since October, boosting its market capitalisation to NKr525m, or about £60m.

Longer-term debt and equity holders in the company, previously known as Artumas, were hit in 2009 after a $115m emergency debt-for-equity swap and farm-out deal for offshore blocks worth an initial $12m was needed to rescue Wentworth.

Wentworth shareholders may yet be handsomely rewarded if plans to exploit onshore gas in the Rovuma basin go ahead. But part of the cost of avoiding wipeout in 2009 was the sale of its 8.5 per cent stake in Mozambican offshore gasfields to Cove Energy, which this week agreed its own $1bn buy-out to Shell.

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