Monday 28 May 2018

High Court to hear application over whether it should confirm examinership for Petroceltic and two related companies

Petroceltic CEO Brian O'Cathain
Petroceltic CEO Brian O'Cathain

Tim Healy

THE High Court will hear later this week an application over whether it should confirm examinership for troubled exploration company Petroceltic and two related companies.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern last month appointed Michael McAteer, of Grant Thornton, as interim examiner on the application of the company itself and of a minority shareholder, Worldview.

The move followed discussions between Petroceltic and Worldview after the latter decided to bring, without notice to Petroceltic, a petition for court protection and examinership.

Worldview EHS International Master Fund, with registered offices in the Cayman Islands, sought protection for Petroceltic International plc and related companies, Petroceltic Investments Ltd and Petroceltic Ain Tsila Ltd.

Petroceltic employs 13 staff at its headquarters at Grand Canal Street Upper, Dublin, and 128 others in offices in several countries.

Based on an independent expert's report, the court heard it is believed the companies have a viable future as a going concern subject to certain conditions including approval of a scheme of arrangement.

Rossa Fanning BL, for Petroceltic, told the court last month his side was not opposing examinership as they considered that in the interest

of the companies. The companies and Worldview also sought and secured an interim examiner pending the petition hearing.

The court was told Petroceltic CEO Brian O Catháin believed an interim examiner was urgently needed to deal with queries from creditors and others about the examinership process and to address funding issues allowing it continue to trade while under court protection.

The petition was due to be heard today but was adjourned on consent to allow the sides address matters in sworn documents.

James Doherty BL, for the syndicate of banks providing funding to Petroceltic, said his clients had concerns about a number of issues.

Mr Doherty previously said the syndicate was owed some $230m and, while not opposing examinership, was reserving its position while it considered information on the financial position of the companies.

Mr Justice McGovern fixed this Friday to hear the petition and continued court protection for the companies in the interim.

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