Oil and gas explorer Aminex cuts pay and furloughs staff

New chief executive Robert Ambrose to receive salary 70% less than his predecessor

Aminex said it was dealing with fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as recent drops in oil prices. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Aminex said it was dealing with fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as recent drops in oil prices. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

 

Dublin-listed oil and gas exploration company Aminex has appointed Robert Ambrose as interim chief executive, and will pay him 70 per cent less than his predecessor in light of the current downturn in the global economy.

Tom Mackay, who replaced Jay Bhattacherjee in May after he left the role for health reasons, has stepped down with immediate effect. The company informed Euronext Dublin of the changes in a note on Monday.

Mr Ambrose will receive an annual salary of £60,000 (€68,800), which is a reduction of almost 70 per cent from the £180,000 (€206,000) salary of the previous chief executive, and will be awarded stock options in lieu of cash, the quantum to be agreed and announced in due course.

In addition, non-executive directors John Bell and Linda Beal have given up all their director fees for stock options.

Temporary reduction

Some staff have also been furloughed and the whole UK management team has taken a 20-40 per cent temporary reduction in salary to assist the company’s cash flow. The senior management team will be compensated with stock options.

The director and staff remuneration savings will reduce cash outgoings by around $75,000 (€69,000) per month, giving an annual saving of about $900,000 (€830,000).

This comprises savings in director fees of circa $400,000 (€369,000) and in staff salaries of about $500,000 (€461,000) per annum.

“This, coupled with savings in other costs, means the company is preserving as much cash as it can to ensure it is resilient during the current downturn whilst having a strong director and senior management team,” Aminex said.

Previously a non-executive director of the company, Mr Ambrose was appointed a shareholder representative of Eclipse Investments in September 2019.

He was formerly the chief operating officer of the energy and logistics division of the Zubair. He retired from Zubair after 20 years in September and is no longer an employee or consultant there.

The Aminex board is reduced from seven directors at the start of 2019 to four directors. In addition, chairman John Bell and senior independent director Linda Beal will take on additional roles and responsibilities at this “challenging and uncertain time”.

Fallout

The company said it was dealing with fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as recent drops in oil prices.

“The first quarter of 2020 has seen the material drop in global equities as a result of the pandemic coupled with the drop in oil price impacting the sector, which the group has not been immune to despite not being an oil producer,” it said.

“The directors recognise that the current macro-economic environment may result in limited or more expensive sources of funding.

“It is likely that if the restriction on movement continues for a significant period, there may be a delay in the group’s operations in Tanzania as access to sites, personnel and equipment may not be possible.”

Separately, Aminex announced it has formally received the extension of the Mtwara licence from the Ministry of Energy of Tanzania.