Court appoints examiner to Petroceltic

An interim examiner has been appointed by the High Court to exploration company Petroceltic and two related companies.

Court appoints examiner to Petroceltic

Mr Justice Brian McGovern appointed Michael McAteer, of Grant Thornton, as interim examiner yesterday on the application of the company itself and of minority shareholder Worldview.

The move followed discussions between Petroceltic and Worldview after the latter decided last Friday to bring, without notice to Petroceltic, a petition for court protection and examinership.

Worldview EHS International Master Fund, with registered offices in the Cayman Islands, sought protection for Petroceltic International and related companies Petroceltic Investments Ltd and Petroceltic Ain Tsila Ltd.

Petroceltic employs 13 staff at its headquarters at Grand Canal St Upper, Dublin, and 128 others in offices in several countries.

Based on an independent expert’s report, the court heard it is believed the companies have a viable future as a going concern subject to certain conditions including approval of a scheme of arrangement.

The petition was returned to April 4, but Rossa Fanning, for Petroceltic, told the judge yesterday his side was not opposing examinership as it considered that it is in the interest of the companies. While there was no application for an interim examiner last Friday, both Petroceltic and Worldview wanted an interim examiner appointed now, he said.

Moving that application, Lyndon MacCann, for Worldview, said it had not sought an interim examiner on Friday because of the urgency of bringing the petition.

It since had discussions with Petroceltic, whose chief executive, Brian O’Catháin, believed an interim examiner was urgently needed to deal with queries from creditors and others about the examinership process and address funding issues allowing it continue to trade while under court protection.

James Doherty, for the syndicate of banks providing funding to Petroceltic, indicated they were not contesting the application but were reserving their position while they considered information on the financial position of the companies.

Matters of concern included a “black hole” in the independent expert’s report accompanying Worldview’s petition, and in the papers in general, in relation to funding issues, said Mr Doherty.

The syndicate was owed $230m and Worldview had said its petition was precipitated due to the expiry of the last waiver provided by the syndicate and before negotiations on an extension of a further waiver were concluded, counsel said.

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