War of words heats up over oil explorer Bowleven

Bowleven, the Edinburgh-based oil and gas explorer, has reiterated its opposition to a hostile takeover bid from Monaco-based Crown Ocean Capital (COC).

Bowleven said Crown Ocean Capital has 'no credible strategy'. Picture: Contributed
Bowleven said Crown Ocean Capital has 'no credible strategy'. Picture: Contributed

In a strongly worded statement, the Africa-focused explorer said COC intended to “take control of Bowleven without paying fair value”, while accusing the private investment vehicle of having “no credible strategy to maximise the value from the company’s key assets”.

COC has built up a stake of more than 15 per cent stake in Bowleven, which is headed by chief executive Kevin Hart. It is looking to replace most of the board members and convert Bowleven into a holding company.

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In a recent trading update, Hart noted that progress was being made on the group’s asset base in Cameroon while also highlighting its “robust balance sheet position”.

Bowleven chairman Billy Allan said today: “Ahead of our formal response, we wish to give timely advice to shareholders that COC’s proposal has absolutely no merit. It is self-evidently, and solely, a means to turn Bowleven into a cash dispenser for themselves, by taking control of the board.”

A requisition for a general meeting was issued by COC on 24 January outlining its proposals. In response to Bowleven’s annoucement, the firm said that it “continues to await both notification of the date of the general meeting requisitioned by Crown Ocean and a substantive response from the Bowleven board”.