Monday 5 December 2016

Worldview take their fight to hold EGM to High Court

Saurya Cherfi and Ray Managh

Published 17/09/2015 | 02:30

Petroceltic chief executive Brian O’Cathain
Petroceltic chief executive Brian O’Cathain

Petroceltic's bid to prevent its biggest shareholders from convening an extraordinary general meeting (EGM), will be opposed, the High Court was told yesterday.

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Mr Justice Max Barrett heard that Swiss hedge fund Worldview, which holds 29pc of Irish oil and gas exploration company Petroceltic's share capital, has called for an EGM to take place on October 5 and is disputing the Irish firm's legal action.

Judge Barrett was told that the case, to be heard next Thursday, was expected to last at least a day. He directed that affidavits on behalf of Worldview be filed by next Monday, and any further replying affidavit on behalf of Petroceltic be filed by Wednesday, in advance of the hearing.

Earlier this week, the court heard that Petroceltic was seeking an injunction restraining an allegedly "unlawful" meeting.

Barrister Andrew Fitzpatrick, counsel for Petroceltic, had told the court that the planned EGM was the fourth sought this year by Worldview in an alleged "campaign" against Petroceltic.

Petroceltic had claimed Worldview had failed to comply with its request not to convene the latest EGM.

Mr Fitzpatrick had told the court Petroceltic was seeking an injunction preventing the shareholder vote from taking place. He said the proposed EGM was causing difficulties for Petroceltic and its shareholders.

He said Worldview had put two resolutions before the EGM seeking shareholder disapproval of Petroceltic's decision to issue senior secured bonds announced last June or approving Petroceltic incurring new borrowings or issuing new debt securities.

Next week's hearing will be the latest twist in a long running dispute between the two sides. Petroceltic says the row that has pitched the company's management against its biggest shareholder is ultimately aimed at wrestling control of the business, valued at about €190m away from the current management and board.

Worldview, for its part, says the dispute is centred on its wish to preserve shareholder value, including by attempting to stop company assets being pleadged as security for new debt.

Despite a series of legal rows, and the four EGMs, the row appears to be drifting further from resolution.

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