Investor attacks Petroceltic’s governance on share placing

Suzie Neuwirth
A MAJOR shareholder in Irish oil and gas explorer Petroceltic yesterday urged other investors to vote against the removal of pre-emption rights on a proposed $100m (£59.5m) placing, criticising the firm’s corporate governance and choice of a new investor.
Worldview Capital Management, an investment firm that holds a 17 per cent stake in Petroceltic, is lobbying other shareholders to vote against the change at the extraordinary general meeting on 9 June. Petroceltic had rejected Worldview’s offer to buy the entire placing, as it said it wanted to attract new investors.

The deal would have raised Worldview’s stake to around 30 per cent, which would have attracted attention from the takeover panel.

Worldview questioned the board’s decision to sell £30m of the placing to Dovenby Capital, an investment firm led by Dato’ Ahmad Fuad, arguing that he does not have relevant upstream experience. “Fuad founded one of the largest offshore oil field services providers. As we’re expanding our capital investment and taking on larger contracts with service providers his experience will benefit us,” Petroceltic’s chief executive Brian O’Cathain told City A.M. He also defended Petroceltic’s corporate governance practices, saying they ran the Aim-listed firm at main market standards.