Board of PetroNeft defeats attempt to remove members

Sharholders support deal with Oil India

Tom Hickey, the former chief financial officer of Tullow, was not among the directors that Natlata was seeking to remove.

Tom Hickey, the former chief financial officer of Tullow, was not among the directors that Natlata was seeking to remove.

Sat, May 10, 2014, 01:01


Shareholders in Russian oil company PetroNeft voted 99 per cent in favour of an $85 million “farm-out” with Oil India Ltd which will fund the development of the company’s licence 61 exploration site in Tomsk in Siberia, Russia.

Shareholders were told by the exploration company’s non-executive chairman David Golder that the terms of the deal could be changed if there was a major change of a management at PetroNeft in the next three years.

A second extraordinary general meeting then took place immediately afterwards yesterday was less unanimous. Almost 75 per cent of shareholders voted against a move by activist shareholder Natlata to remove five of the company’s seven directors.

Tom Hickey, the former chief financial officer of Tullow, was not among the directors that Natlata was seeking to remove.


Strategy proposed
Mr Golder said in a statement afterwards: “The board has proposed a strategy for the next phase of the company’s development, which has been overwhelmingly supported by the shareholders today.”

He noted that 810 of Petroneft’s 850 shareholders supported its board. “This gives us a mandate to conclude the farm-out with Oil India and to progress the development of our asset, debt free and with a fully funded $45 million work programme,” he said.


‘Mismanaged’
Maxim Korobov, Natlata’s controlling shareholder, told The Irish Times he believed that PetroNeft had been “mismanaged,” and he wanted it to appoint new board members to deliver more value to shareholders.

“Over the next two or three months we will evaluate the situation and see has it changed or not,” he said.

Petroneft’s chief executive, Denis Francis, he said had “personally shown an ability to change”. However, he said Natlata still wanted new directors to be appointedto PetroNeft’s board.

“Our general purpose is to increase value for shareholders in this company,” Mr Korobov said.

Mr Korbov, is a former member of the State Duma for the United Russia party and he has extensive experience investing in Russian exploration.