IGas issued a statement this morning saying an earlier announcement about the share dealings of its chief executive, Andrew Austin, had been “full and correct disclosure” under market rules.
On 16th January, IGas reported that Mr Austin bought 300,000 IGas shares. To fund the acquisition, he took out a three-year loan, arranged by Meridian Equity Partners, with the US company, Equities First Holdings. He transferred up to 7.5 million shares as security on the loan. The shares he bought were priced at 135.36 pence each.
After the purchase, the IGas share price rose briefly to a peak of 164.50 on January 20th but then began to fall. There was a rally in June, when the price reached 146.5, but since then it has been falling almost continually, losing 45% in the year to date. The lowest point in the past 52 weeks was yesterday at 56.74. Today shares closed at 57.61 pence.
At the time of the share purchase, IGas said Mr Austin was required to redeem the shares at maturity, once the loan was repaid.
Today’s statement read:
The Company notes the recent movement in its share price and confirms the detail contained in the statement on 16 January 2014, in respect of Mr Andrew Austin’s facility with Energy First Partners LLP, is full and correct disclosure for the purposes of the AIM and Disclosure and Transparency Rules”.
At the time of the purchase, Mr Austin had 10,967,075 ordinary shares, representing 5.41 per cent of the issued ordinary share capital of the company.
Alliance News reported today that four other companies had made statements about directors’ share dealings with Equities First Holdings. In the statements they said the arrangements were sale and repurchase deals but IGas had not done so.
The Telegraph said the IGas shares plunge follows concerns about another agreement by Equities First Holdings, this time with senior figures in Quindell, the insurance claims processor. This involved the transfer of shares held by directors to EFH, raising concerns about the board members’ faith in Quindell’s prospects. More details
On 16/11/14 the Sunday Times reported that Andrew Austin, the chief executive of IGas has refused to cave into pressure from investors clamouring for details of a controversial scheme, under which he put £10m of company shares as collateral for a personal loan. The paper says the stock plummeted by 25% last week amid fears that Ausin could be hit with a margin call and potentially lose control of the stake. Austin declined to reveal the value of the loan, but it is thought it was less than half the value of the stock.
On 18/11/14 the Telegraph (among others) reports that Rob Terry, the founder and chairman of Quindell, has stepped down, along with the finance director and a non-executive director. The company announced on November 5th that all had been involved in share deals using a loan secured against their pre-existing stakes with EFH, later corrected to “a sale and repurchase agreement”