Worldview assumes control of Petroceltic

19 June 2016

Existing shares cancelled

An Irish court has approved Swiss Worldview Capital’s scheme to take full control of Dublin-based oil and gas company Petroceltic.

Worldview cancelled Petroceltic’s existing share capital on 17 June.

Shareholders received €0.31 ($0.35) an ordinary share. Shares were worth as much as £2.21 ($3.17) in 2014, before oil prices dropped significantly and Worldview began its long-running battle with Petroceltic’s management.

The entire board of Petroceltic stepped down as well as CEO Brian O’Cathain and chief financial officer Tom Hickey.

Worldview chief executive Angelo Moskov will be appointed to the new board.

The board changes followed a challenge to an earlier resolution scheme by senior management. The employees received a higher percentage of their contractual entitlements in the case of a change of control, according to local press.

Worldview filed a petition to appoint an examiner at the Irish High Court in early March, without prior notice to Petroceltic. It then bought up 69.4 per cent of Petroceltic’s $233m of debt at cents on the dollar after Petroceltic was unable to meet payment obligations.

“We look forward to working with the Petroceltic team to ensure the long term success of the company as it develops its assets,” said Moskov in a statement.

Worldview had previously tried to push Petroceltic’s management to adopt a cheaper strategy to develop $2bn Ain Tsila gas field in Algeria, its most important asset.

It advocated spending just $500m on developing Ain Tsila. This is around a third of Petroceltic’s planned $1.5bn investment, for which it was unable to raise finance.

Drilling is currently underway at the 355 million cubic-foot-a-day (cf/d) field by China’s Sinopec. Petroceltic had prequalified companies for an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) tender for the field development.

Worldview declined MEED’s request for comment on its current development strategy and its relationship with Algerian state-owned oil company Sonatrach.

Petroceltic holds a 38.25 per cent interest, Sonatrach a 43.375 per cent interest, and Italy’s Enel an 18.375 per cent interest in the Isarene block at Ain Tsila.

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