Six directors join Capricorn ahead of merger vote
A new board has been elected at Capricorn Energy, the Edinburgh-based oil and gas explorer formerly known as Cairn Energy, and it will almost certainly block a planned merger with an Israeli company.
Craig van der Laan becomes chair and Chris Cox, who previously ran Centrica’s Spirit Energy, is appointed interim chief executive.
Hesham Mekawi, Maria Gordon, Richard Herbert and Tom Pitts were also appointed as directors with immediate effect. Mr Herbert becomes senior independent director.
They join sitting members Catherine Krajicek and Erik B. Daugbjerg to form a reconstituted board.
The new members step in following an acrimonious battle over the company’s strategy which led to seven directors, including the chair and CEO, stepping down.
Palliser Capital led the opposition to the group’s effective takeover by NewMed Energy Management of Tel Aviv, a subsidiary of the Delek Group.
The changes, decided at a general meeting in Edinburgh called by Palliser, come ahead of a further meeting on 22 February to consider the merger but this is now unlikely to go ahead.
In a statement after today’s meeting, the board said it would instigate a review of operations and “evaluate the merits of the NewMed transaction”.
After the seven directors announced last week that they would step down NewMed said that “the probability for the closing of the transaction has significantly decreased”.
Irenic Capital, a 2.8% shareholder, is calling on Capricorn to return excess capital to shareholders, reduce excessive spending and maximise value from the company’s Egypt assets.
New chairman Mr van der Laan, said: “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to chair Capricorn at an important point in the company’s history. Each new member of thebBoard joined Capricorn because we believe in the company’s potential and see untapped opportunities to maximise value.
“This transition presents an opportunity for a fresh start: to identify what the company needs without preconceptions. As a first step to achieve this goal, we will conduct a thorough review of all available strategic directions before we determine the best path forward.
“On behalf of the board, I would also like to thank Simon Thomson, who leaves the company today, for his contribution to this organisation over the last 27 years and wish him well in his future endeavours.”