Saturday 21 October 2017

Petroceltic shareholders set to back firm in Worldview row

Brian O’Cathain, chief executive of Irish explorer Petroceltic
Brian O’Cathain, chief executive of Irish explorer Petroceltic

Paul O'Donoghue

Two of Petroceltic's biggest shareholders look set to back the company ahead of its bitter showdown with its largest shareholder Worldview.

US investment management company Ingalls & Snyder and UK investment management company Aberforth Partners hold 4.1pc and 3.2pc of shares in the Dublin-based oil and gas firm respectively and are the fourth and seventh largest shareholders in the company.

Both firms are believed to be set to vote down a series of motions to be put to Petroceltic shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting, called by Worldview, on Wednesday.

Both firms were recently said to be expected to back Petroceltic in an investor note and Petroceltic is understood to be confident of their support. The company has already received the support of chairman Robert Adair, who holds a 19.2pc stake in the company, and CEO Brian O'Cathain says he is "confident" that Petroceltic has secured the backing of a majority of shareholders.

Swiss-based activist investment firm Worldview is the largest shareholder in Petroceltic with a 29pc stake.

Worldview is unhappy with Petroceltic's strategy and capital expenditure plans. It is is looking to oust Mr O'Cathain from Petroceltic and appoint two new directors, including its own chief Angelo Moskov, to the board of the Dublin company. Petroceltic has rejected the claims and urged shareholders to vote down the proposals at the EGM, with Mr O'Cathain saying that Worldview's proposals are "ludicrous".

He told the Sunday Independent that the company is confident of defeating Worldview's proposals. Mr Moskov told the Sunday Independent that even if the proposals are voted down at the EGM, "the process is irreversible".

"We will call another EGM and another - within six months it will be obvious to everyone that what we are saying is right," he said.

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