Dart aims at Soul Patts

Coal seam gas hopeful Dart Energy is expected to repel an attack by Soul Patts this afternoon.

Rugby legend Simon Poidevin was nimble and dangerous in attack during his days playing in the green and gold.

But now he is firmly in defence mode as a Dart Energy (DTE) director trying to fend off the might of his major shareholder, Soul Pattinson (SOL).

Soul Patts Robert Millner has written directly to Dart shareholders arguing that Poidevin and three other directors – chairman Nick Davies, Stephen Bizzell and Norrie Stanley – should be dumped and replaced by his hand-picked team including New Hope chief executive Robert Neale and three independents.

Soul Patts has a 12% stake in Dart, a coal seam gas developer that has been hit hard by the regulatory uncertainty created by the O'Farrell government in NSW over such developments that forced it to consign most of its Australian operations on to care and maintenance (see Justin Braitling's Exploding shale).

Dart shares slumped to a 4c low in April after the NSW Government  declared it would restrict exploration activities near residential areas.

They have since regained strength as the company has redirected its efforts towards its other interests in the UK, China and Indonesia, rising to 15c this week.

The Dart board is expected to reject Soul Patts advances this afternoon, arguing that it will consider takeover offers should one be presented rather than an attempt to grab control of the company through a board spill.

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