Day-long Petroceltic talks fail to agree deal

A hearing aimed at getting High Court approval for a survival scheme for exploration company Petroceltic has been adjourned after day-long talks over employees concerns about the survival proposals failed to end in agreement.

The hearing will now open today by which time lawyers for the employees said they hoped agreement might be achieved.

All senior staff at Petroceltic had voted against the survival proposals put to them by examiner Michael McAteer at creditors meetings which provided they would get just 5% of monies owed under “change of control” clauses in their contracts. About 30 staff are owed some €3.6m.

Secured lenders and other creditors are expected to either support the scheme or adopt a neutral position.

The examiner’s application for approval of the scheme was due to open before Mr Justice Brian McGovern yesterday but was adjourned at the outset to facilitate talks arising from the employees concerns.

At 3.30pm, Michael Collins, for the examiner, said, while there had been optimism about a resolution, that had not worked and he was instructed to proceed immediately with the application for approval.

Lyndon MacCann, for Worldview Capital, a Swiss-Cayman fund believed to be on the verge of buying Petroceltic, agreed with Mr Collins.

John O’Donnell, for the employees, said not a single one had voted for the scheme put before them at the creditors meetings and there had been very detailed “without prejudice” talks during the day which were at “a delicate stage”.


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