Worldview ups war of words with Petroceltic as EGM approaches

Swiss investment group calls on shareholders to oust chief executive Brian O’Cathain

Swiss investment group Worldview has again urged Petroceltic shareholders to oust chief executive Brian O'Cathain at an upcoming EGM, claiming the Dublin-based explorer was "on a crash course to further value destruction".

Worldview, which has a 29 per cent stake in Petroceltic, is at loggerheads with the company over a string of alleged corporate governance failings,which it blames on Mr O’Cathain.

It accuses Petroceltic of reneging on an agreement to undertake and complete a strategic review of the company in return for Worldview’s consent to a $100 million share placing last year.

The investor also blames the company for recent poor drilling results, a failure to curb spending and a delay in developing a key gas project in Algeria.


However, Petroceltic strongly rejects the allegations and insists the Swiss group is merely trying to gain control of the company without buying it.

Last month, the company said it would hold an EGM in Dublin later this month at the behest of Worldview.

In a circular issued on Monday, Worldview urged shareholders to vote for resolutions to remove Mr O'Cathain and to appoint its own candidates, Maurice Dijols, whom it described as an experienced oil and gas executive, and its founder and chief executive, Angelo Moskov to the board.

According to Worldview, two existing Petroceltic directors, Joe Mach and Don Wolcott, representing one third of the board, also support the Worldview resolutions, which include the adoption of a new strategic plan for the company.

The Swiss group said it believed Petroceltic would run out of cash and be forced to raise new capital again this year. “Worldview will not support any further capital raises as long as Brian O’Cathain remains on the board,” it said.

“Worldview has produced a plan that would align Petroceltic’s strategy to shareholder value and the directors proposed by Worldview would, together with the newly constituted board, seek to implement this new strategy immediately following the EGM,” it claimed.

Worldview’s implementation plan would result in spending many times less for the Algerian asset, while financing it from improved cash flows from existing fields and cutting current spending, it added.

Petroceltic has urged shareholders to reject resolutions put forward by the investor.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times