News Column

Milroy Says Former Wessex Exploration Head Supports Board Ouster

May 9, 2014

Rowena Harris-Doughty

LONDON (Alliance News) - Milroy Capital Ltd, a shareholder proposing to oust the board of energy company Wessex Exploration PLC, said Friday that Frederik Dekker, the largest shareholder in Wessex and former managing director, has no ownership of Milroy Capital and will not be a member of Wessex Exploration's new management team if Milroy is successful in its efforts.

However, Milroy said that Dekker supports its proposal.

Milroy Capital, the personal investment company of Robert Milroy, is a 4.7% shareholder of Wessex Exploration, with 34 million shares. Dekker, is the largest shareholder, holding a 11.36% stake.

Milroy told Alliance News on Friday that prior to his letter requesting the general meeting of Wessex Exploration to replace the board, he had never had any dealings with Dekker. But he said that, at his request, Dekker agreed to vote in favour of his actions in reorganising the board and rejuvenating the company.

"Outside of this Mr Dekker will not become a board member, nor will he be involved in managing the firm if we are successful in our resolutions," Milroy told Alliance News.

Last month, Milroy said shareholders of Wessex Exploration a letter setting out the reasons for his proposal to remove the Wessex Exploration board and restructure the company. Milroy proposed seven resolutions, including the dismissal of the three current directors and the substitution of four new directors.

In response, Wessex Exploration announced a general meeting for May 15.

In the letter, Milroy proposed, as the four new directors, himself as non-executive chairman, Alastair Murray as chief executive, Robert McAndrew as chief of production and operations, and Ian Burns as an independent non-executive director and chairman of the audit committee.

They would replace the current directors, who are Executive Chairman Malcolm Butler, Chief Financial Officer Andrew Yeo, and Iain Patrick, senior independent non-executive director.

The letter said the value of the company has fallen by over 95% in less than two years, and the current board lacks strong leadership. Without fundamental change, shareholders face a bleak future and a likely further dilution of their investment, the letter said.

It said that a proposed Far East acquisition by Wessex "would almost certainly constitute a reverse takeover, and result in enormous dilution for all shareholders."

Shares in Wessex Exploration surged Thursday afternoon, after it confirmed it was still in advanced negotiation regarding the potential acquisition of a prospective offshore asset in the Far East.

In the statement, it insisted that the proposed acquisition would not be classified as a reverse takeover under AIM rules, and urged shareholders to vote against Milroy Capital's proposals for the acquisition to proceed.

"As the acquisition will only proceed if the resolutions proposed for the requisitioned general meeting are defeated, the directors strongly urge shareholders to vote against all the resolutions proposed by Milroy Capital at the forthcoming general meeting scheduled for May 15, 2014 and to take no action in the meantime," the company said in a statement.

Wessex Exploration shares were trading 31% higher Friday morning at 0.95 pence. The shares have traded between 0.28p and 1.87p in the past 52 weeks.

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Source: Alliance News

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