Spat heats up as Halom seeks to delay MMA Offshore equity raising

MMA Offshore’s largest shareholder Halom Investments, led by Singaporean OSV stalwart Michael Kum, is seeking to postpone a $97m equity raising announced by the Australian company last week.

Last Thursday, MMA announced an equity raising consisting of a 1 for 1 entitlement offer to raise around $74.6m and a $22.4m institutional placement to existing and new investors.

Halom is seeking to delay the fund raiser because it is set to occur before the record date for determining voting entitlements at MMA’s upcoming annual general meeting, where Halom is calling for a vote on the removal of CEO Jeff Weber and chairman Tony Howarth.

Halom claims that the equity offer is designed to ensure that Weber and Howarth are able to maintain control of the board, and that it distorts the voting power of current MMA shareholders.

Australia’s Takeovers Panel has been asked to rule on the matter by Halom, who are seeking for the new shares to be issued after the record date for determining voting entitlements, or that new holders are prohibited from voting at the AGM. It is also seeking that MMA restructure the offering to allow eligible shareholders to apply for additional shares under a shortfall facility.

Halom has been campaigning for the removal of Weber and Howarth for months, and recently set up a website Change for MMA after a Members’ Statement sent to the company last month calling for management change was ignored.

Halom wants to replace Weber and Howarth with new board members, prominent Singapore lawyer Haridass Ajaib and former MMA non-executive director Jeffrey Mews.

Concerns outlined by Halom include unsustainable debt levels, vessel write-downs, and a decline in market capitalisation from $951m to $69m.

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.
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