With apologies to Ian Hislop, seeing shares in AIM-listed jam-tomorrow (but never delivers) IoT Investment Company Tern plc (TERN) riding high suggests that either the market is now fully set for a big tumble or I am a banana. Tom Winnifrith was struck in yesterday’s Bearcast with the stock at 25p. But by market close they were sitting at an amazing 30.25p (mid) – an incredible 44% rise in one day for a company with last stated net assets (cash plus a portfolio of illiquid unlisted cash-hungry investments) of just 7.3p!
In a corporate update released at 4.03pm this afternoon, AIM-listed (pro tem) New World Oil and Gas has announced the bad news that its Nomad, the disgraced Roland “Fatty” Cornish at Beaumont Cornish is to walk as at the close of play today. It also announced that its scheduled AIM execution under AIM Rule 41 is on 10 Nov, not 9 Nov as previously advised. One last hurrah for checking and verifying RNS announcements for the now ex-Nomad to the company. How fitting.
Tom Winnifrith has already commented on the appalling mess at AIM-listed New World Oil and Gas. I shall not repeat any of that, but there is one angle to this which is worth mentioning, and it regards the looming deadline as regards the suspension of the company’s shares from trading. Under AIM Rule 41 you get six months and then you are booted off the Casino. Except when you don’t…..
AIM-listed but currently suspended (for the second year in succession for failing to publish accounts on time) Daniel Stewart (DAN) has issued the most bizarre RNS explaining the issuance into Crest of 1,666,666 shares which do not appear to have been allotted, according to Companies House filings. Further, the recipient of the shares seems to be unable to return the stock. The statement - which raises all manner of questions - reads:
New World Oil & Gas (NEW) has not issued an RNS to confirm whether or not Bill Kelleher has repaid the several hundred thousand dollars he owes the company or if he has left his role as a well-paid technical advisor. Frankly, New World should have done, but we’ve now been passed some other interesting information concerning one of the directors’ wives. It appears that the Kazakh Department of the Agency for Public Service and Anti-Corruption is seeking the arrest of Peter Sztyk’s wife for “misappropriation or embezzlement of entrusted property”.
On Friday, I revealed the Texas Community Bank’s legal action against New World Oil & Gas (NEW) CEO Bill Kelleher for his apparent default on a $550,000 debt. This was immediately before New World listed on AIM. Mr Kelleher had secured his unpaid loan on his private yacht, Neftegaz. In the original action the Texas Community Bank sought to take possession of Neftegaz, but by January 14th 2014 it seems that Mr Kelleher still owed $298,846.25 of the original debt. On this date the US District Court Southern District of Texas granted an Order for Turnover Relief against Mr Kelleher. It ordered him to “turn over for levy to the Harris County Constable… within ten days… all shares of stock in New World Oil and Gas, PLC, except those that he is restricted from transferring or selling under the terms of the agreement with his employer, cash and securities in bank and safety deposit accounts totalling $298,846.25”. Funnily enough, I can’t find any reference to this court order in an RNS.
In March 2013, one month before the company announced it had plugged and abandoned the non-commercial Rio Bravo exploration well, New World Oil and Gas (NEW) conducted a highly controversial £6.3million placement at 2p. The controversy stemmed from two sources. First, there was the suspicion that this placement was heavily forward sold, which resulted in the calamitous price. Second, New World lent vehicles controlled by its three executive directors a combined sum of $1million so they could participate in the deeply discounted placement. CEO William Kelleher borrowed $333,000 from the company and the outstanding balance on this amount is due at the end of this month. After yesterday’s revelation of the Texas Community Bank’s legal action against him for nonpayment of >$550,000 in February 2011, will Mr Kelleher repay the money he controversially borrowed?
Just over a week ago, I wrote this open letter to the Takeover Panel about New World Oil & Gas’ (NEW) never-ending deal with Niel Petroleum and whether the original shareholder approval granted on September 12th 2013 was still valid. It looks like it wasn’t. On Tuesday, New World issued this RNS, in which it was forced to announce “the Transaction [the Niel deal] will be subject to the waiver of the obligation on Niel Petroleum SA to make a general offer under Rule 9 of the Takeveor Code being approved by independent shareholders on a poll”. This is good news for shareholders as they now have the opportunity to scrutinise more thoroughly Kuwaiti firm Al Maraam Trading & Contracting Ltd’s (Al-Maraam) involvement in this. In particular serious, unanswered questions remain on what basis New World can claim that “Al-Maram will participate in all future bid rounds for the drilling and production of oil and gas in Kuwait”.
After nearly nine months of inadequately explained delays to the completion of the Niel deal by New World Oil & Gas (NEW) there are serious questions whether or not the original shareholder approval granted to New World remains valid or if the company needs to call another general meeting to ratify the proposed new deal. Apparent material changes resulting from the introduction of the mystery Kuwaiti partner, Al Maram Trading & Contracting Ltd, to the transaction have raised concerns and New World’s shareholders remain in the dark. I have now drafted a letter to the Takeover Panel to ask them to look into this matter.