The former deputy chief executive officer (CEO) of defunct Russian oil group TNK-BP, Maxim Barsky, tells Shares he will go to the regulators if Aim-quoted Urals Energy (UEN:AIM) does not respond to demands for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to elect a new board.
Barsky is the figurehead for two major shareholders controlling just under 31% of the Russia-based oil producer and refiner – Alpcot Capital Management and Fire East Corporation. They are calling for a streamlined management with Barsky as chairman alongside TNK-BP's former chief oil trader Jonathan Kollek and current non-executive director Torbjörn Ranta.
If the shareholder revolt is successful they would replace the existing board of chairman Andrew Shrager, CEO Alexei Maximov and remaining directors Leonid Dyachenko, Aleksey Ogarev, Ingeborg Srenger and Stephen Buscher.
Urals' reaction so far has been to say it is taking legal advice on the validity of the notice requisitioning the EGM (25 Sep). It subsequently unveiled interim results on Friday (27 Sep) which showed a widened pre-tax loss to $2.3 million, although arguing it had 'turned a corner' with net working capital positive for the first time since 2006.
Barsky remains unconvinced: 'I see a company where the management haven't performed,' he says. He points out that there has been no independent audit of the Urals portfolio, which includes licences in the Barents Sea and off the coast of Siberia on Sakhalin Island, since 2007.
Asked what he will do if no response is forthcoming he adds: 'I believe it is the job of the nomad and the exchange. If we get no response we will go to the regulators because shareholders have the right to vote and express their view. We are getting more and more people aligned with the proposal.'