Petropavlovsk and Petroceltic face shake-up

Petropavlovsk founder and chairman Peter Hambro
The UK commodities market is facing a shake-up this week, with London-listed oil firm Petroceltic and mining company Petropavlovsk both scheduled to hold major shareholder votes.

Irish firm Petroceltic is to hold an extraordinary general meeting on Wednesday, at the behest of major shareholder Worldview Capital, which is seeking to oust the company’s chief executive Brian O’Cathain. The two firms have been engaged in a war of words for months.

Petroceltic has accused Worldview of attempting to take over the company without paying a fair price, while Worldview alleges that O’Cathain and his board are running the company into the ground.

Worldview claimed at the end of last week that its request to attend the EGM had been denied, and a source close to the matter told City A.M. that “there could be a scene at the door” if the issue is not resolved.

Meanwhile, Petropavlovsk has come under sustained pressure from an activist investor over the past week, ahead of its general meeting to vote on a restructuring plan on Thursday.

Early last week, investment fund Sapinda announced it had formed a group of investors holding 10.7 per cent of the gold miner’s stock, prepared to vote against the proposed refinancing unless it was renegotiated to be more beneficial to shareholders.

Senior lender VTB has backed Sapinda, and Petropavlovsk has since had to open negotiations with the activist despite previously labelling its proposal “absurd and unworkable” and insisting any delay to proceedings would result in the firm’s bankruptcy.

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