Five discontented stakeholders, representing minority shareholders’ interests, asked Lekoil Limited, the London-listed parent company of Lekoil Nigeria Limited, to provide details of the moves it is making to avert a potential delisting from the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) section of the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
The group failed to meet two deadlines to file its audited financial report for 2020, and trading in its shares and is now under suspension from regulators after a three-month extension that ended September, which shareholders fear could hasten its ejection from the LSE, a letter directed to Chairman Tony Hawkins seen by PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday showed.
“The Company will provide updates on the suspension when it has further information,” Lekoil said in a document dated October 18, 2021.
Since January, Lekoil has been stuck in a morass that triggered an upheaval in its leadership when Metallon Corporation, owner of the biggest stake in the company, got assent from most of the shareholders to appoint three new directors to the board, a decision fiercely contested by Lekan Akinyanmi, Lekoil’s founder and CEO.
Metallon offloaded its 15.1 per cent holding in the group thereafter, citing Lekoil Nigeria’s meddling in the everyday running of Lekoil Group.
Mr Akinyanmi took an unsecured loan from Lekoil totalling USD $1.6 million (including accrued interest) as of June 30, 2021, which the group has been trying to recover, the company’s earnings report for half-year 2021 says.
Lekoil Group, which is based in the Cayman Islands, holds a 40 per cent interest in Lekoil Nigeria.
All the five stakeholders who endorsed the letter are board and management team members of Lekoil Nigeria Limited. Three of them Mr Akinyanmi, Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode, and Gloria Iroegbunam were part of the board of the parent company until June when they left in a joint resignation.
“The Board of Directors of Lekoil Cayman continue to show a blatant disregard for the Shareholder Agreement, a legally binding agreement which governs the relationship between Lekoil Cayman and Lekoil Nigeria and which was implemented at the time of Lekoil Cayman’s listing to meet the requirements in Nigerian law in respect of control of indigenous strategic assets,” Mrs Muhammed-Oyebode said at the time.
A nominated adviser informed Lekoil the bar on trading in its shares, going by AIM’s rules, would not be lifted until the group shed light on its relationship with its Nigerian subsidiary.
The stakeholders said Lekoil has not made any known effort to clarify the issue or contact Lekoil Nigeria for that purpose.
The consent given at the last annual general meeting was to allow Lekoil settle accumulated but unpaid fees shares “to third party advisors or contractors who agreed to take part of their fees in ordinary shares,” the five said, noting that “contractors” in this context does not include directors.
Lekoil Nigeria’s indebtedness to the Lekoil Group as of the middle of the year surpassed $350 million, according to the latter’s half-year financials.
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