Examiner appointed to troubled exploration company Petroceltic

The High Court has confirmed examinership for troubled exploration company Petroceltic and two related companies.

There was no opposition to the application, brought by minority shareholder Worldview which earlier this week acquired further debts of Petroceltic.

Rossa Fanning BL, for Petroceltic, said the petition was presented last month in “somewhat unusual circumstances” but his client, which acted appropriately at all times, was supporting examinership.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern was told that two secured lenders of Petroceltic, NBSA Ltd and Standard Chartered Bank, owed $230m, who previously expressed concerns about some issues arising from the petition, were not pursuing those concerns.

The lenders sold their interest in the relevant loans to Worldview, the court heard.

Paul Gallagher SC, for Worldview, said it had addressed the relevant concerns, including claims of a want of good faith in bringing the petition arising from the fact another Worldview entity, Sunny Hill, had made an offer for Petroceltic.

That offer, along with any other offers, would be considered by the examiner, he said.

Gavin Simons, solicitor for Elbrus Capital (Cayman) Ltd, a fund based in the Cayman Islands to which Worldview has sold debts of Petroceltic, said it was supporting the petition.

In court documents, it was stated that, under transfer agreements, Worldview, Elbrus Capital Cayman and the minority lenders — NBSA and Standard Chartered Bank — will all be lenders of record under a common terms agreement (CTA) and, therefore, secured creditors of Petroceltic and other companies in the Petroceltic group in respect of sums outstanding under the CTA.

The amount of the transfer also means Elbrus Capital Cayman’s economic interests under the CTA are greater than those of the minority lenders, meaning no collective action on behalf of the lenders without the consent of Elbrus Capital Cayman, it was also stated.

Having heard the parties, the judge said he was satisfied to confirm Michael McAteer, of Grant Thornton, as examiner.

Petroceltic employs 13 staff at its Dublin headquarters and 128 others in offices in several countries.

After counsel said Mr McAteer wanted an extension of time to pursue and finalise an investment agreement and survival proposals, the judge agreed to extend court protection to May 12.


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