Buccaneer Avoids Full Takeover By Singapore Investors

     After a special shareholders meeting Tuesday, the Board of Directors for energy producer Buccaneer Energy has a new look. A takeover attempt by a group of Singapore-based investors was only partly defeated in a vote Tuesday in Sydney, Australia.

     Jeannie Kever of the Houston Chronicle reports that shareholders in the company voted to keep Buccaneer’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, Curtis Burton on the Board. They also kept the company’s finance director. But two investment companies based in Singapore rallied the votes necessary to install three new members.

     Officials for Buccaneer didn’t return calls for comment, but last week, the CEO Curtis Burton put out a video pleading his company’s case.

     “One of the things (we’ve) said from day one was that this company was built on a big vision, of we were only going to only raise as much money as we had to have to get to the next stage. From my perspective, what we’ve been telling shareholders all along is that this is a dynamic, large vision that requires capital to fuel.”

     That capital has been raised in fits and spurts. Earlier this year, Chicago-based Victory Park Capital extended a $100 million line of credit to the company. That came after a contract dispute last year that called Buccaneer’s financial resources into question.

     Workers on the jack-up rig Endeavour, which Buccaneer owns a part of, walked off the job after not receiving pay checks. Buccaneer said it was their subcontractor’s problem to deal with, the subcontractor, Archer Drilling, said the contracts they were responsible for were taken care of. Endeavour was moored in Homer Harbor racking up repair bills and dock fees all winter. On Monday, Buccaneer announced that Meridian Capital International Fund acquired up to 19.99 percent interest in the company, raising more than $15 million.

     The investors hoping to take over control of Buccaneer’s Board of Directors wanted to consolidate its operations. They wanted to focus on what the company is doing on shore with natural gas. Not the capital-intensive, high-risk game of drilling for oil in Cook Inlet. CEO Burton warned investors against that strategy.

     “That is not a safe, sane or balanced approach to what we’ve been doing. One of the rules that I’ve lived by is you never put all of your eggs in one basket. In this case, you don’t bet the company on a land gas deal and exclude the huge upside that the offshore oil resources represent,” he said.

     Perhaps giving some credence to that case was Buccaneer’s recent announcement that reserves in its Cook Inlet holdings could be as much as 100 million barrels. That announcement and the Board shake up didn’t do much for Buccaneer’s stock price. It closed on the Australian Stock Exchange Tuesday at a very affordable four cents a share.