Activist seeks to oust Hurricane Energy board

Activist investor Crystal Amber Fund Ltd on Friday requisitioned a general meeting to remove six directors of West of Shetland oil and gas explorer Hurricane Energy, including the executives and chair, and appoint two directors of its own.

This follows an attempt by Hurricane to be taken over via a formal sales process (FSP).

Crystal Amber is Hurricane’s largest shareholder with a roughly 29% equity stake.

Hurricane chairman Philip Wolfe called Crystal Amber’s actionssimply mystifying.”

Crystal Amber wants to appoint Tony Buckingham and Franco Castelli as directors. They are former executives of Albion Energy Ltd. Buckingham was chief executive officer of Albion and Castelli was managing director.

Crystal aims to remove Hurricane CEO Antony Maris, CFO Richard Chaffe, and non-executive chair Philip Wolfe, as well as its own nominees Juan Morera, David Craik, John Wright.

In November, Hurricane Energy launched a formal sales process (FSP) and said that in the event that this doesn’t result in a transaction, the company will commence a capital return programme.

Hurricane has said it intends to return capital of up to $70 million to shareholders in the first quarter of 2023, which it said it plans to vote on at a general meeting on January 11.

Crystal Amber Fund on Friday said the capital return would require approval by the High Court of Justice in England & Wales.

Hurricane Energy replied in a stock exchange statement: “The board is considering the content of the Requisition Notice, which it intends to respond to in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

“Shareholders are advised to take no action at this stage until further communication from the company …

“Hurricane announced on 2 November 2022 the commencement of a formal sale process (the FSP) as referred to in Note 2 on Rule 2.6 of the Takeover Code.

“The FSP is progressing well, with multiple credible counterparties having received management presentations and conducting detailed due diligence.

“All participants in the FSP have been requested to submit bids by 7 January 2023 …”

Hurricane chairman Philip Wolfe said: “Given the excellent traction we are seeing in the FSP, which the company commenced to explore all options for shareholders and to fulfil Crystal Amber’s goals, the decision to issue the Requisition Notice at this point is simply mystifying.

“We note that Crystal Amber is open to bids resulting from the FSP.

“We encourage the participants in the FSP to submit bids in accordance with the process and look forward to updating shareholders in due course.”


Reporter: Tom Budszus

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