Top shareholders push for board overhaul at energy producer SilverBow
Nov 30 (Reuters) - Two of SilverBow Resources Inc's largest investors are pushing the U.S. oil and gas producer to revamp its board to address governance concerns and boost its lagging performance, according to statements on Thursday.
Hedge fund Riposte Capital, which currently holds a 6.7% stake in SilverBow, in a letter to the company urged SilverBow to appoint three new directors to its board, months after Reuters reported the investor's attempts to push the shale producer to drop anti-takeover defences and explore a sale.
The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC) NGC’s HSSE strategy is reflective and supportive of the organisational vision to become a leader in the global energy business.
In its latest letter, the fourth-largest stockholder called on the company to appoint new board members at the shareholder meeting due next year, having failed to act on its earlier demands and, instead, pursued a strategy that resulted in a further underperformance against rivals.
Kimmeridge Energy Management, the largest shareholder in SilverBow with a 12.9% stake, said in a subsequent statement to Reuters it "would be supportive of moves to improve accountability, alignment and performance" and that it was "hard to argue" with the points made by Riposte.
SilverBow did not respond to a request for comment.
SilverBow's shares rose as much as 5% in early trading, on the back of Riposte's letter, before giving up all its gains as crude prices slumped on news of an agreement on production cuts by the OPEC+ producers.
The company has a market capitalization of about $800 million. Its shares have gained 11% this year, outperforming the 5.7% decline by the S&P Energy index, which is made up of the largest energy companies.
New York-based Riposte argues that, when compared with smaller peers, SilverBow has lagged on an earnings multiple basis this year, and may do so again in 2024 based on latest forecasts.
Riposte, run by Khaled Beydoun, said the company's deal to acquire assets for $700 million from Chesapeake Energy had also diluted existing shareholders as it issued new stock to partially fund the deal.
The hedge fund's dissent at SilverBow is a rare example of shareholder activism from Riposte, which has only publicly voiced its displeasure at a company whose shares it has owned on a couple of occasions in recent years.
SilverBow's board is comprised of nine members, most of whom are independent directors. Strategic Value Partners had previously held the right to nominate two directors but one of its nominees dropped off the board on Monday, after the investment firm sold part of its stake.
SilverBow operates on around 180,000 net acres in South Texas' Eagle Ford shale basin. The company's deal for Chesapeake's assets, which is due to close by the end of the year, will boost its operations by another 42,000 net acres. (Reporting by David French in New York; Editing by Anirban Sen, Jacqueline Wong and Susan Fenton)