Worldview’s latest egm call ‘unlawful’, says Petroceltic

Petroceltic last egm on Monday voted down asset sale restrictions

Petroceltic chief executive Brian O’Cathain has consistently claimed that Worldview is seeking to take control of the company without paying fair value to shareholders.

The ongoing battle between Petroceltic and its biggest shareholder continues unabated with the Irish oil and gas exploration firm claiming that Worldview's latest attempt to convene an extraordinary general meeting (egm) as "unlawful".

The Swiss hedge fund, which holds more than 29 per cent of the share capital in Petroceltic, recently embarked on a bid to force the Irish explorer to hold yet another egm, the fourth such meeting sought so far this year.

However, Petroceltic has strongly advised shareholders to refrain from taking any action in relation to the attempt and said it regretted any confusion or uncertainly caused by Worldview’s “ill-advised and unlawful actions.”

Petroceltic's legal advisers have written to Worldview demanding the group formally withdraws its egm notice.

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Worldview, owned by Angelo Moskov, has been at loggerheads with management over allegations that Petroceltic breached a shareholders' agreement struck last year, which the company has consistently denied.

The hedge fund tried to oust Mr O’Cathain and appoint two of its own nominees to the board at a shareholders’ meeting in Dublin in February. Shareholders, however, blocked the move, voting to retain Mr O’Cathain and to appoint two nominees by Petroceltic’s board.

Since then, Worldview has sought a number of additional egms and initiated legal proceedings in the High Court against the Irish-headquartered firm.

Earlier this week, the group failed in a bid to restrict the rights of the exploration company’s directors to sell assets worth 25 per cent or more of the company’s revenues, profits or reserves without shareholder approval. Shareholders also rejected two board proposals: to restrict the directors from borrowing more than $650 million (€582 million) with the support of a majority of the company and to change Petroceltic’s memorandum of association to bring it in line with current legislation.

Following Monday’s meeting, Worldview confirmed its plan to call yet another egm in London next month to deal with the $175 million bond issue the board announced in June.

Petroceltic chief executive Brian O’Cathain has consistently claimed that Worldview is seeking to take control of the company without paying fair value to shareholders.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist