Thursday 19 April 2018

Natlata flirts with a takeover play for Petroneft

Maxim Korobov of Natalya Partners
Maxim Korobov of Natalya Partners
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Petroneft's largest shareholder has signalled that it could launch a takeover bid for the company as its dispute with management continues.

Natlata Partners, which is seeking to have Petroneft's management removed, has established a new website with a Q&A section dealing with the dispute with the Irish company.

Under the question: "Does Natlata plan to make a full offer for Petroneft?", the company does not rule out proceeding with that option.

"Our focus right now is on the issues that we believe to be of most critical and urgent importance to the business. We want to replace the directors that have overseen the protracted destruction of value at Petroneft, and rebuild the company for the benefit of all shareholders," the website says.

Natlata's beneficial owner is Russian businessman Maxim Korobov, who was wounded in the Soviet-Afghan war and was a member of the Russian parliament for Vladimir Putin's United Russia party. The company owns just under 30pc of the Dublin-based oil & gas explorer.

Petroneft is seeking to have four of the Irish-based company's directors removed: chief executive Dennis Francis; company secretary David Sanders; chief financial officer Paul Dowling; and non-executive chairman David Golder. It wants Korobov to take charge as interim chief executive.

Shareholders will vote on the proposal on or before April 18, Petroneft told the market earlier this week.

"Petroneft has met with representatives of Natlata on several occasions since the EGM proposal was made with a view to reaching an arrangement that is in the interests of Petroneft and its shareholders as a whole.

"To date, a compromise has not been reached but the board remains open to continuing these discussions," the Irish-based company said.

Natlata said on its website that it does not intend to take the company private.

"We believe that there is significant value in the assets of the company and, with the right management, we can increase the company's value to the benefit of all shareholders. Our aim is to increase shareholder value and not to take the company private."

It said it is engaging with Oil India, a farm-out partner for a project in Siberia, to discuss the way forward on that project.

Under the terms of the farm-out deal, Oil India has the right to become operator of the project if there was a significant change in management within three years of the deal, which was inked in 2014.

Sunday Indo Business

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business