UPDATE 2-Rockhopper mulls move to main mkt after placing

* Raises 48.5 mln stg via placing at 280 pence per share

* Placing funds flow testing at Sea Lion exploration well

* Considering a move to the main market from AIM

* Shares rise 1.6 pct
(Adds shares, further statement, analyst comment)

By Lorraine Turner and Sarah Young

LONDON, June 8 (BestGrowthStock) – British oil explorer Rockhopper
(RKH.L: ) raised 48.5 million pounds ($70.37 million) to help fund
development of the larger-than-expected reserves at its Sea Lion
well in the Falkland Islands, and said it was considering a move
to Britain’s main stock market.

The Sea Lion well is the first oil find of any exploration
programme in the Falkland Islands and has sparked fears of
renewed tensions between Britain and Argentina, who fought a war
over the islands’ sovereignty nearly 30 years ago.

The company, whose recoverable oil reserves were last week
raised to 242 million barrels from 170 million after analysis of
data from Sea Lion, said it was considering a move to London’s
main market from AIM.

“The board will consider… whether the main market of the
London Stock Exchange would be the most appropriate platform for
the company’s continued expansion,” said Chairman Pierre

He said that he believed such a move would be attractive as
it would improve Rockhopper’s profile, enable wider access to
its shares and boost trading volumes.

Rockhopper said on Tuesday it issued just over 17 million
shares, or 10 percent of shares currently in issue, at 280 pence
per share, a 3.5 percent discount to the stock’s Monday closing
price of 290.25 pence.

Shares in Rockhopper, which on Friday soared over 50 percent
after the company increased its estimates for the Sea Lion oil
well, were up 1.6 percent at 295 pence at 1448 GMT on Tuesday,
valuing the company at about 517 million pounds. [ID:nLDE6530AA]

The new funds will be used for flow testing at the Sea Lion
exploration well and drilling an exploration well on its Ernest
Prospect, Rockhopper said.

“This placing was not a surprise and leaves the company well
capitalised in the near-term,” said Oriel Securities analyst
Richard Rose, adding that he expects the company to undertake an
additional raising later in the year to fund appraisal wells.

Stock Market  Report

($1=.6892 Pound)
(Editing by Myles Neligan and Simon Jessop)

UPDATE 2-Rockhopper mulls move to main mkt after placing