Investor calls for removal of five Hurricane Energy directors

Activist investor Crystal Amber, which holds more than 11 per cent of Hurricane Energy, has called for a general meeting of shareholders to remove all non-executive directors of Hurricane.

Aoka Mizu FPSO is operating on the Lancaster field for Hurricane; Source: Bluewater

Hurricane said in a filing on Wednesday that Crystal Amber made a requisition notice in which it called for the ousting of non-executive directors Steven McTiernan, David Jenkins, John van der Welle, Sandy Shaw, and Beverley Smith with immediate effect.

The investor also called for the appointment of John Wright and David Craik as additional directors, also with immediate effect.

If all of that comes to fruition, the board of Hurricane would be reduced from seven to four people and consist only of CEO Antony Maris, CFO Richard Chaffe, and the two additional directors.

The board is considering the content of the requisition notice, which it intends to respond to in accordance with the requirements of the Companies Act 2006”, Hurricane stated.

The move is somewhat expected as Crystal Amber said in March that it experienced a ‘dramatic deterioration in the way that Hurricane was engaging with the fund.

This is consistent with what the fund considers to be inadequate, confusing and poor messaging to market participants”, Crystal Amber said at the time.

In the same month, Crystal Amber requested to nominate a director to the board of Hurricane. Other than responding to note that the request had been shared with the board of Hurricane, the fund received no response to this request.

The investor stated that it would not take this lightly and claimed that it was no longer prepared to be excluded from participating in the evaluation of impending critical decisions by those who have ‘virtually no skin in the game’.

It could be said that this latest move by Crystal Amber was even somewhat announced by the fund stating that it “[…] found the board of Hurricane to be both indecisive and obstructive. Therefore, it now intends to take appropriate action to maximise Hurricane’s potential”.

The spat between the two started during September and October 2020 when Crystal Amber proposed to Hurricane to buy in some of the company’s loan notes at below 50 per cent of par value. Since then, no update on bond purchases or capital allocation has been provided to the fund or the market.

In early January this year, Crystal Amber shared its updated technical report with Hurricane. This also sought an explanation as to why the oil company was not keen to tie back the existing Lincoln Crestal well which was reported to have tested at a sustained commercial rate.

No explanation was given with the fund even requesting a call between Hurricane and its technical consultants, but no such call happened.