Gulf Keystone Petroleum attacks “disingenuous” M&G

Gulf Keystone Petroleum has hit back at M&G Investments after the asset manager called on the oil firm to improve corporate governance.

The M&G Recovery fund, managed by Tom Dobell (pictured), owns a 5.1 per cent stake in the Aim-listed oil firm, and issued a statement yesterday reiterating its long-running efforts to improve the way the firm is being run.

M&G had previously put forward four independent non-executive directors, John Bell, Jeremy Asher, Thomas Shull and Philip Dimmock, to GSK in June.

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However, GSK has attacked M&G for being “disingenuous” to say in its statement that it is seeking a meeting with GSK chairman Simon Murray ”as soon as possible” when GSK claimed it has been trying to set up such a meeting without reply from M&G.

The oil firm, which is looking to bolster its independent non-executive directors ahead of a planned move to the Main Market of the FTSE, also hit back at M&G for proposing Jeremy Asher for the role because he cannot be independent as he owns a stake in GSK.

The share price of GSK has fallen by 26.6 per cent in the past year and both M&G and GSK said the firm was at a significant discount to its true value.

But while M&G thinks part of this is down to corporate governance concerns, GSK said it was a combination of outstanding litigation from its Excalibur project, the market sell-off in the mid-cap natural resources sector and concerns over its projects in Kurdistan, all of which it expects to be resolved in the short to medium term.