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Shareholder seeks shake-up at MMA Offshore

Mon 25 Sep 2017 by David Foxwell

Shareholder seeks shake-up at MMA Offshore
MMA Offshore made a significant loss in the last year but believes it will recover as the offshore industry stabilises

One of the major shareholders in MMA Offshore says it wants to remove independent non-executive chairman Anthony Howarth and the company’s managing director and CEO, Jeffrey Weber.

MMA Offshore said it has received correspondence from Halom Investments Pte Ltd giving notice that it intends to move resolutions at the company’s next general meeting that seek to have Howarth and Webber ousted. Halom holds approximately 18.09% of the company’s shares. At the end of August MMA Offshore reported a significant loss for the year to 30 June 2017 but said it believed the market had bottomed out and it expects it to recover.

The company said its board “is of the strong and collective view that stability and unity of purpose is critical to the ongoing success of the company’s turnaround and optimisation of its longer term funding arrangements.”

The board will be recommending that shareholders vote against changes that, in its opinion, jeopardise the stability of the company.

Halom has proposed to nominate Jeffrey Mews and Ajaib Hari Dass for election to the board at the same meeting. It has not proposed a replacement chairman of the board, or managing director and CEO.

In addition to the board changes, Halom has also stated that their proposed directors would seek to conduct a strategic review and address the company’s leverage.

MMA Offshore said Halom was advised that Mr Howarth was already looking to step down at the 2017 AGM, and that a board renewal process had been initiated. In addition, Halom was offered the opportunity to propose a single nominee for appointment to the board.

The board also held discussions with other major shareholders. During these discussions, Black Crane Capital Managing Partner and CIO, Peter Kennan, offered to join as a non-executive director effective immediately, which the board accepted. Black Crane Asia Opportunities Fund, managed by Black Crane Capital, holds approximately 10.38% of the company’s shares.

“We have already begun a strategic review of the company’s operations and financial position, including engagement with our advisors, Deloitte and Pareto Securities, as to possible options for the company’s longer term funding. Apart from identifying the obvious issues we are already dealing with, Halom has failed to outline any proposed changes to the strategy and direction of the company that differ from our current path.   We remain confident of our ability to successfully conclude a suitable outcome for the company’s leverage position and balance sheet,” Mr Howarth said. “Unfortunately, having put the company in this position, the move by Halom has a potential destabilising effect with no suggested solutions or detail of their intentions.”

MMA Offshore subsequently confirmed that Mr Howarth will retire at the conclusion of the company’s 2017 AGM. Non-executive director Andrew Edwards has been designated as chairman-elect.

“MMA is on the pathway to recovery,” said Mr Howarth. “If the acceleration of this board renewal assists with the company’s dealings with Halom, it will have an added benefit for the company.”

 

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