Exillon investor wants change in the boardroom

Marion Dakers
A MAJOR investor in FTSE-listed oil explorer Exillon Energy has demanded the removal of the firm’s chairman as it looks to turn around a slide in the firm’s share price.

Worldview Capital Management wrote to Exillon at the weekend to call for an extraordinary general meeting and three new board members.

The shareholder, which has built up a 13 per cent stake in Exillon over the last six months, complained that the firm’s stock is underperforming due to “a flawed operational strategy and… a period of serious corporate governance failings”.

The firm’s share price has slumped by around two thirds since a placing in March 2011, and in June 2012 the firm was relegated from the FTSE 250.

Worldview wants to oust David Herbert, the ING banker who became chairman in 2009 after steering the firm’s float. It has also proposed three new non-executives: Caithness Petroleum boss Yves Merer, accountant and energy veteran James Dewar, and Worldview’s chief compliance officer Andrey Kruglykhin.

It also raised concerns that founder Maksat Arip remains chief executive of an Exillon subsidiary, though a source familiar with the company said many shareholders were comfortable with Arip’s continued involvement.

The FSA slapped Exillon with a £292,950 fine last April for failing to properly identify payments of almost £1m to Arip in 2010. Some of the payments were used to pay school fees for Arip’s children and for private travel.

Exillon declined to comment, but is expected to respond to the letter today.