Bloody Bowleven board battle moves into next round with motion to sack chairman of Edinburgh oil and gas minnow

Billy Allan
Billy Allan

Corporate battle in the Bowleven board-level bloodbath is set to continue into another round with a major shareholder now calling for the chairman to be sacked.

Earlier this month, five directors – including the £900,000 a year chief executive – were sacked instantly after a polled vote of shareholders was called in favour of the motion Monaco-based private equity firm Crown Ocean Capital.

Only two directors of the Edinburgh-based oil and gas minnow remained – non-exec Chairman Billy Allan and former BP veteran David Clarkson as the very executive Chief Operating Officer.

 At the heart of the dispute is a bitter disagreement over the future direction – and share-out of shareholder value – of Bowleven between the old board, led by the sacked chief executive and former Cairn Energy veteran Kevin Hart -and Crown Ocean Capital.

Crown decisively won that boardroom battle – and forced Allan to announce that Bowleven would now conduct a ‘strategic review’, including the option of putting itself up for sale.

Now Crown has called another shareholders’ meeting on a motion to sack Chairman Allan – presumably for ‘bad-mouthing’ Crown’s motion which led to the first round of sackings.

And in addition, Crown have nominated another two names as directors-nominate.

No date has been announced for this next general meeting – but if Crown win the vote, Allan will be dismissed with immediate effect.

Meanwhile, Bowleven – which is heavily focused in oil and gas exploration in Africa – sneaked back into the black, with a profit of $3.3 million in the six months ending 31 Dec 2016, compared to a loss of more than $129 million in the previous full year.

As at 24 March 2017, Bowleven is sitting on a bank cash mountain of $90 million and is debt-free.

But it has no outstanding exploration work commitments and, significantly, the interim statement did not include the usual commentary from the chairman.

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