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Controversial businessman Frank Timis has been cleared to take an executive role at his two Perth-based oil and gas plays, two years after a bruising battle with the Australian Securities Exchange that saw them list instead on the low-profile National Stock Exchange. (Photo: Timis cleared to take executive roles)
In that time the presence of International Petroleum and African Petroleum has helped the NSX make some strides towards legitimacy, with a significant uptick in both the number of brokers that trade on the exchange and the value and volume of that trade.
Since 2010, for example, seven new brokers have joined the exchange, among them Patersons Securities, DJ Carmichael, Shaw Stockbroking and Ord Minnett. The number of trades per year is also up, from 876 in 2009 to 2533 last year and 2365 for 2012 to date.
The NSX’s decision to release International Petroleum and African Petroleum from nine of the 10 conditions imposed when they listed means Mr Timis will be allowed to hold an executive role, sit on continuous disclosure committees and make announcements on behalf of the companies.
However, it is unclear whether Mr Timis, a major shareholder in both groups and non-executive chairman at African Petroleum, plans to exercise his new rights.
The unusual conditions were imposed by the NSX because of concerns about Mr Timis’ past, which includes a £600,000 ($928,548) fine slapped on London-listed Regal Petroleum for misleading statements when he was executive chairman.
Mr Timis and his sometime business partner Tony Sage, who is chairman of International Petroleum and deputy chairman of African Petroleum, initially tried to list both companies on the ASX in 2010. However, the ASX took the unprecedented step of blocking the move because of Mr Timis’ history.
Mr Sage yesterday welcomed the NSX’s decision as an endorsement of the companies’ “professionalism and good behaviour” and the “strong working relationship” they had established with the NSX.
The other discarded conditions include the establishment of a continuous disclosure committee and the need to have all market releases reviewed by an external adviser.
The only remaining condition is for the companies to lodge quarterly activities and cash flow reports.
International Petroleum and African Petroleum are exploring for oil and gas in West Africa and Russia and Kazakhstan respectively. With a market capitalisation of just over $1 billion, African Petroleum is by the far the biggest on the NSX, formerly the Newcastle Stock Exchange, with International Petroleum about one-third its size.
Dominated by small-cap companies, the NSX’s less onerous entry requirements include a shareholder spread of just 50 and a market capitalisation of $500,000.
Kate Emery, The West Australian
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