The push for a board spill at ailing coal seam gas explorer and producer Dart Energy has been brushed aside as ‘‘opportunistic’’, with the move criticised as a move for control without mounting a takeover offer.
Earlier this week, the Soul Pattinson controlled New Hope Corp called for four of Dart’s long standing directors to be dumped in favour of its own nominees.
‘‘Dart needs an injection of determination and drive at the board level that each of the nominees have displayed,’’ New Hope said in a letter to Dart shareholders, putting its case for the board spill.
As of September 24, Dart was worth just $146.5 million, well below the $510 million figure just three years ago, New Hope told Dart shareholders.
‘‘A sad and long history of the Dart Energy board’s failures to deliver on stated strategy and objectives has motivated New Hope to take this action,’’ it said.
Soul Pattinson has a 59.7 per cent stake in New Hope, which has 16.4 per cent of Dart’s capital. New Hope is predominantly a coal miner, with more than $1 billion in cash on its balance sheet.
‘‘Given that New Hope is proposing to replace 80 per cent of the Dart board when it only owns a 16.4 per cent interest in Dart ... this is an opportunistic attempt by New Hope to take control ... without making a formal takeover offer ... and without paying a premium,’’ Dart responded earlier today.
Dart recently announced a restructure, including a fund raising as it seeks to revitalise its operations after the failure of a number of proposals, such as splitting off international operations into a separate overseas listed vehicle.