Business Irish

Sunday 18 March 2018

Petroceltic hits out at Worldview's latest EGM bid

Petroceltic chief executive Brian O’Cathain. The oil and gas company is to hold its annual general meeting this Friday
Petroceltic chief executive Brian O’Cathain. The oil and gas company is to hold its annual general meeting this Friday
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Irish resources firm Petroceltic has blasted an attempt by Swiss activist investor Worldview to requisition another extraordinary general meeting of the oil and gas company, labelling it "misguided and unnecessary".

It's the second time in less than a week that Worldview has called for a special meeting of the Irish company's shareholders, and marks another salvo in a long-running battle being waged by the Swiss investment firm against Petroceltic.

Worldview owns 29pc of Petroceltic, whose chief executive is Brian O'Cathain. It's heaping pressure on the Irish firm in advance of its annual general meeting on Friday.

The Swiss company, headed by Angelo Moskov, last week called for an EGM at Petroceltic in an effort to block a planned €161m bond issue by the Irish firm.

Petroceltic plans to use the bond to finance its share of capital spending at its flagship Ain Tsila gas project in Algeria, on which it is leading development.

Worldview claims that Petroceltic has "run out of money" and is placing its key asset at risk via the bond issue.

Yesterday, Worldview called for a separate extraordinary general meeting. It wants a resolution tabled that if passed would force Petroceltic to seek approval from shareholders for any material asset disposals that represent 25pc or more of the Irish company's revenues, profits, or oil and gas reserves.

"Management may embark on a hurried sale of key assets to continue to fund its wasteful strategies," Worldview alleged.

But Petroceltic has dismissed Worldview's claims and said the request for the EGM in relation to the bond issue has been rejected on legal grounds.

"The company believes that Worldview's recent requests that the company convene two EGMs are misguided, unnecessary and a waste of the company's and shareholders' time and resources," said Petroceltic in a statement.

It pointed out: "Petroceltic is required to seek shareholder approval by way of ordinary resolution for disposals resulting in a 'fundamental change of business'."

It also claimed that the request for the second EGM Worldview has called for would constitute "an inappropriate interference with the powers of the directors" to manage Petroceltic.

Worldview made a failed attempt earlier this year to oust Mr O'Cathain as Petroceltic chief executive.

Irish Independent

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