Bosses at Reabold Resources are fighting their corner ahead of an upcoming showdown with a minor shareholder group aiming to replace them.
Company co-chief executive Sachin Oza says there “is no Reabold” without the work he and his counterpart Stephen Williams have put in over recent years.
But an investor in the company, who claims to be nursing a “substantial loss”, believes the London-listed firm (LON: RBD) has “completely underperformed”, and is hoping “fresh blood” will reverse its fortunes.
A decision was made last week to hold a requisition meeting called by minority shareholders, collectively known as the Pershing Nominees.
They are seeking to oust Reabold’s entire board and replace them with four new directors.
In response Reabold has accused Pershing of trying to “opportunistically gain” control of the company on the cheap, something they have denied.
Transformed from a ‘cash shell’
In an interview with Energy Voice, Mr Oza underlined how the North Sea company got to where it is today.
He said: “It’s worthwhile recognising, there is no Reabold without Stephen and me; it was a cash shell only a few years ago.
“Everything that has been put and created into this portfolio is from the efforts that we have, implemented, as it relates to our strategy.
“Of course, we are aware that this has not been reflected in the share price. But if you put the two things together, we are in a position a position where the share price is low and the asset portfolio is very rich.
“Moreover, we are soon going to be cash flush, compared to any point in our history since Stephen and I took over. Those two situations makes this attractive, if you are going to be opportunistic about trying to take control of the company without doing so through a normal takeover.”
Reabold recently struck a £32 million deal with oil giant Shell for the former’s controlling stake in West of Shetland operator Corallian Energy.
As well as netting Reabold £12.7m, the company also acquired working interests in a package of North Sea assets.
A date for the proposed meeting is expected shortly, with Mr Oza and Mr williams wanting to nip the “major distraction” in the bud quickly.
Shareholder group ‘very frustrated’
A full list of the investors that full under the Pershing Nominees umbrella hasn’t been shared, but names of the directors they are hoping to appoint have been made public.
If Reabold’s board is ousted, Francesca Yardley, John McGoldrick, Kamran Sattar and Cathal Friel have been lined up to take over.
In a statement given to Energy Voice, Mr Friel explained that he, and a “number of other shareholders”, have become “very frustrated” by Reabold’s performance in recent time.
He said: “I hold a reasonable investment in Reabold, where I am nursing a substantial loss. I am fully aware that the markets are currently difficult with most stocks down in 2022. Despite this, I have joined this Requisition because I feel quite strongly that Reabold should have been able to perform vastly better than many of its peers in the oil & gas sector.
“I note in Reabold’s initial response that this is an ‘opportunistic attempt to gain control without paying a control premium’. However, this is simply wrong as all we want to do is replace the current board and install some new blood with fresh ideas to deliver substantially better performance and returns to all shareholders.”
Reabold has dismissed the proposed replacements as individuals with “a track record of value destruction…or no public board experience at all.”
Both sides bullish on success
The company has engaged with discussions with other backers in the last week, and Mr Oza and Mr Williams are confident of success.
Mr Williams said: “We’ve been speaking to our largest shareholders – you start at the top and work your way down – and we’ve had nothing but support indicated so far.
“We have some very large backers on the register, and with their support we’re confident this isn’t going to go anywhere.”
But Mr Friel is equally optimistic of success, and says Pershing has “significant support amongst the shareholder base”, potentially over 25%.
He added: “When it comes to the voting process, the requisitioning shareholders are optimistic in being able to persuade and convince most of the other shareholders to support the Requisition.”