Metgasco employee Stuart George outside the new Metgasco office on Barker Street in Casino. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Metgasco employee Stuart George outside the new Metgasco office on Barker Street in Casino. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

Metgasco shareholders won’t get a second chance at a deal

METGASCO shareholders angry at the NSW Government’s ‘paltry’ $25 million exploration licence buyout offer won’t be getting a better deal, now or ever.

The government has made clear there will be no second chances if the buyout offer is rejected at next Wednesday’s shareholder meeting in Sydney.

A spokesman from NSW Resources Minister Anthony Roberts’ office said a rejection of the deal would see the offer withdrawn, “and the government will vigorously defend any further legal proceedings and rigorously apply the policies and regulations as set out in the NSW Gas Plan.”

A shareholder movement is agitating for a ‘no vote’ at the noon meeting, arguing that the $25 million on offer doesn’t touch the sides of the $100 plus million the company has invested in developing the three Northern Rivers licences.

But the offer has been endorsed by the Metgasco board who have staked their future with the company on a yes vote.

Managing director Peter Henderson said the board maintained that acceptance of the $25 million offer “is in the best interest of the company and that shareholders should vote yes accordingly”.

“The government’s position has been consistent,” Mr Henderson said.

“This is not a compulsory acquisition. Metgasco shareholders have the right to reject the offer and maintain their exploration licences and court action,” he said.

But Mr Henderson noted that if the licences were retained, they would be subject to continued work commitments including expenditure on seismic testing and drilling, and licence renewal approvals needed over the next two years.

Any moves by the company to resume its field activities would likely lead to widespread local protests.

Mr Henderson also noted the board had not received “any plans or proposals from those intending to reject the $25m offer to explain how they intend to run the company, including nominations for a new board and management, or to fund it activities should the offer be rejected.”

The Resources Minister’s office said “we respect this is now a decision for Metgasco’s shareholders”.



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