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Petroceltic AGM passes share consolidation plan

PETROCELTIC's plan to reduce the number of shares drew criticism from shareholders yesterday, but the plans were passed at the company's annual meeting.

The Irish-owned oil and gas mining company will now consolidate its four million shares next month so that one new share will be issued for every 25 currently held.

Petroceltic chief financial officer Tom Hickey told shareholders the company is taking this step to bring its share price in line with its peers. Most FTSE 250 companies trade in the region of £1 to £2 per share.

Yesterday the price of one share in Petroceltic was 7.5 cents on the Irish stock exchange.

Investors opposed to the move said the effective share prices of companies traditionally fall after a consolidation, especially if the event does not happen alongside corporate activity or apositive announcement.

One shareholder asked the board to wait until it moves to a full listing on the stock exchange and announces a successful farm-out of its Algerian operation. He said the consolidation appeared to be happening in "a vacuum".

On the issue of when the company will go for a full listing, Petroceltic boss Brian O'Cathain said this would likely happen in October. Petroceltic is waiting until negotiations with the Algerian government were completed, which Mr O'Cathain said would be more complicated if it were fully listed before then.

The company had planned to seek a full market listing in June. It is currently listed on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange and on the enterprise securities market of the Irish Stock Exchange.

Irish Independent