Largest Shareholder of Hurricane Energy Seeks to Remove Top Management

Muhammed Husain and Anchal Rana
Friday, December 23, 2022

Hurricane Energy's largest shareholder Crystal Amber Fund is calling for the removal of top management at the British company and the appointment of two directors from another firm that the fund says could invest in Hurricane.

Hurricane put itself up for sale last month after receiving a takeover proposal it rejected as too low, but has so far not received a formal offer. 

Activist investor Crystal Amber, which holds 28.9% in the North Sea oil and gas producer, said on Friday it was requisitioning a shareholder meeting, seeking to remove Hurricane Chairman Philip Wolfe, CEO Antony Maris, and finance chief Richard Chaffe.

It also proposed the appointment of Tony Buckingham, the founder and CEO of Africa-focused oil explorer Albion Energy Ltd, and Albion's managing director Franco Castelli, as directors.

If the two are appointed, Crystal Amber said it would be supportive of bringing on Albion as an investor in Hurricane to raise funds for the company to spend on drilling programmes.

Albion did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Buckingham did not immediately respond to requests sent to his LinkedIn account. Hurricane declined to comment. 

Shares in London-listed Hurricane were up nearly 5% to around 7.7 pence by 0920 GMT.

"The Fund has concluded that in the continuing absence of a firm offer that reflects the value of Hurricane, it would be better served under new management," Crystal Amber said in a statement.

Conditional on the appointment of its two nominees, Crystal said it would also call for the removal of three more Hurricane directors - David Craik, John Wright and Juan Morera.   

The fund, a shareholder in Hurricane since March 2013, said the call for the removal of Craik, Wright and Morera, its former nominees, was not a reflection on their performance but "in order for Hurricane to maintain its independence".

Hurricane's board intends to return up to $70 million to shareholders in the first quarter of next year if it fails to attract a buyer.

Earlier this week, a top three shareholder of fellow London-listed oil and gas firm Capricorn Energy CNE.L urged the ousting of seven directors, including the CEO and finance chief, at Capricorn.

 (Reporting by Muhammed Husain and Anchal Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Mark Potter)

Categories: Energy Drilling North Sea Industry News Activity Production UKCS People & Companies

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