NZOG board keeps mum as duelling bidders seek directorships

The board hasn't made a recommendation to shareholders.

The board of New Zealand Oil & Gas has refrained from making a recommendation to shareholders at the upcoming annual meeting where rival suitors are seeking directorships.

Zeta Resources-aligned Duncan Saville, who's been a director of NZOG since 2014, is up for re-election at the October 30 meeting. However, shareholders will also decide whether to elect OG Oil & Gas boss Alistair McGregor, whose interests lobbed in a rival bid to Zeta's partial takeover proposal. Independent director Mark Tume chose not to seek re-election and will retire at the meeting ending a five-year stint on the board.

The board hasn't made a recommendation to shareholders, and chairman Rodger Finlay will make a decision on how the cast proxy votes once it's known whether OGOG will make a formal offer, an NZOG spokesman said in an emailed statement.

Zeta is seeking 42% of NZOG's fully and partly paid shares it doesn't already own, subject to scaling, lobbing in an offer of 72cps. It pitched its bid with the lure of a $50 million capital return to shareholders but NZOG's independent directors spurned the bid saying it undervalues the company. OGOG has thrown in a counter-offer of 77c a share for a maximum 70% stake in the Wellington-based company, which it says is the only way to preserve the opportunities in front of it.

NZOG's shares last traded at 74c and have climbed 17% so far this year.

Zeta has extended its offer closing date to October 18, while OGOG has yet to formally lodge an offer document, which would then require a response from NZOG. The New Zealand company's independent directors have recommended shareholders wait until they get further guidance on the OGOG offer while noting it appeared superior to the Zeta bid.