Nexus set for market return

Energy firm's shares to start trading for first time since takeover offer from Seven Group.

Nexus Energy shares are expected to start trading this week for the first time since February, when Seven Group Holdings chief Don Voelte stepped down as chairman ahead of a $438 million Seven bid that values the shares at one-third their last traded price.

The Australian Securities Exchange, which had been preventing the shares from trading, has become more comfortable with Nexus’s financial position in recent months and will let the shares trade after a takeover scheme booklet targeted for release for tomorrow.

“There has been no change to the company’s financial position since April 11 (when the company last updated the market) and as such the company’s financial ­viability remains dependent on the support of Seven Group ... and ultimately on the outcome of the scheme,” Nexus said.

A vote on the scheme, which will see shareholders of the ­company receive just 2c per share and Seven take on about $400m of debt and capital spending ­commitments, is scheduled for June 12.

Nexus shares last traded at 5.9c on February 20 because of an outage at the company’s Longtom field in Bass Strait, just two days after Voelte stepped down.

It is understood Seven is keen to continue employing Nexus managing director Lucio Della Martina, one of just three Nexus directors following Voelte’s exit, if it is successful in buying the company.

Seven believes Martina, who worked under Voelte at Woodside, has been a good steward of the assets since he came on board two years ago, with a deal with Shell on the company’s Crux assets well-progressed. On March 31, Nexus said no discussions about executives’ continued employment at Seven had been entered into and the board viewed this as inappropriate before shareholders had voted on the scheme.

Tomorrow’s scheme booklet will contain an independent ­expert’s report on the Seven Group bid.

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