Cat-and-mouse game seen in bid for CAT oil

miércoles 5 de noviembre de 2014 11:53 GYT
 

VIENNA Nov 5 (Reuters) - Austrian fracking specialist CAT oil appealed to a little known offshore bidder to reveal its intentions and strategy for the German-listed group, showing how investors can cloak their identities and make bids difficult to assess.

British Virgin Islands-based Joma Industrial Source said last week it had amassed an indirect 47.7 percent voting stake in CAT oil and would make a mandatory cash offer to other shareholders, as required by Austrian law.

CAT oil specialises in boosting the productivity of wells via hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking". Its operations focus on Russia and Kazakhstan, and its customers include Lukoil , Rosneft Gazprom and Kazmunaigas .

Friday's release said Maurice Gregoire Dijols was among the investors who had acquired indirect control via the deal, but it was not immediately clear whether this was the same Maurice Dijols who was formerly head of oil services company Schlumberger Russia.

Not much else is clear about Joma, CAT oil said.

"The intentions by the asserted new major shareholders are in the dark. In the interest of all shareholders of CAT oil AG, our customers and employees we again urge Joma Industrial to promptly disclose its intentions," Chief Executive Manfred Kastner said in a statement on Wednesday. It has yet to get answers to queries, he added.

As CAT shares rose 2.1 percent to 15.015 euros, it was unclear how Joma secured its stake. It could have used a call option to secure German tax adviser Walter Hoeft's majority in Cyprus-based CAT Holding, which in turn owns nearly 48 percent of CAT oil.

But CAT oil said Hoeft had asked Joma for evidence that such a move had taken place.

"The management board has furthermore received confirmation by Dr Walter Hoeft that the asserted sale of his stake in CAT Holding was not planned by him," the company said.

CAT oil said it had learned that Joma also was disputing the stake held by Anna Brinkmann, CAT oil's chief operating officer and indirect owner of 49.8 percent on CAT Holding. She also owns a direct 11 percent stake in CAT oil, it said.

Joma has asked a court in Nicosia to dissolve one of her investment vehicles, CAT oil said, adding Brinkmann would "defend her legal interests by exhausting all legal possibilities". (Reporting by Angelika Gruber and Michael Shields; editing by Jane Baird)