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On 30 April 2020 Gulf Marine Services plc (GMS) announced that Seafox International limited (Seafox), its competitor and major shareholder, had made an unsolicited offer for GMS on 26 April 2020, ‘in light of recent trading and share price volatility in relation to GMS’. GMS is currently reviewing the offer.
In its announcement, GMS stated that:
‘Over the past year, GMS has completely overhauled its Board and management team, made material reductions in its cost base and at the same time delivered significant new contract wins. Agreement in principle has also been reached with lenders on the key terms of the restructuring of its bank debt, which will provide a firm platform to move the business forward through 2020 and beyond. The Board of GMS remains fully confident in the future success of the business.’
In January 2019, Seafox became an investor in GMS and had requested an overhaul of the board alongside further cost cutting and a long-term solution to the capital structure. Seafox went on to further critique GMS in an announcement on 1 March 2020, stating that issues within the company had been persisting for years, noting, among other issues:
‘GMS’s decline started in 2016 when ADNOC fired the company by early termination of 30/40% of GMS’s business and contracts. This led to substantial destruction of shareholder value. ‘
Seafox once again requested a ‘full overhaul of the board’ in order to create ‘shareholder value for all’ and made two of its own recommendations for the board in its March announcement.
On 4 March 2020, in response to this, GMS had disputed the statement made by Seafox stating it contained ‘numerous inaccuracies, displays a lack of understanding of GMS's business and contains nothing to suggest that the Seafox Nominees would be additive to the Company's governance’.
As of now, GMS has advised its shareholders to take no further action whilst it considers the offer.
Market Tracker will continue to monitor this transaction as it develops.
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