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Daily Telegraph: Timis signs ‘non-interference’ pack with Regal

By Russell Hotten
Last Updated: 12:28am GMT 25/01/2008

Colourful businessman Frank Timis has made a highly unusual pact with his former company, Regal Petroleum, promising not to interfere in the running of the business.

The “relationship agreement” was signed as part of an £84m fundraising unveiled yesterday, in which Mr Timis has agreed to see his stake in the oil explorer diluted from around 19pc to 14.3pc.

Mr Timis, founder and former chief executive of the company, has long been rumoured to be a power behind the throne. Last November, he was thought to have had a hand in a decision to scrap a deal with Royal Dutch Shell just 24 hours after it was agreed, which he has denied.

Regal’s chief executive Neil Ritson resigned.

But yesterday, Regal and Mr Timis said they wanted to dispel the perception that he retained influence over the board. The relationship agreement’s key point says that the deal is to ensure “the company is capable at all times of carrying on its business independently of Mr Timis and his associates”.

Aim-listed Regal has also appointed a new financial adviser, Strand Partners.

Regal hit problems in 2005 when it was forced to admit that a well drilled off the coast of Greece was dry, despite previous claims it held 1bn barrels of oil. Then there were allegations that Mr Timis secretly tried to sell the company’s assets in Ukraine.

Not long after, Romanian-born Mr Timis, who in the 1990s was twice convicted of possession of heroin, resigned, and the Financial Services Authority and London Stock Exchange began investigating the circumstances around the Greek exploration.

Yesterday, Regal said that the FSA has now ended its probe because the LSE had passed the results of its own investigation to the Aim Disciplinary Committee. Regal said the results of the referral to the ADC would not be known for at least six months.

David Greer, former head of Shell’s Sakhalin II operation in Russia, has been Regal’s chief executive since November. He resigned from Shell last year, soon after an email to employees, leaked to the media, was ridiculed as something that could have been penned by The Office’s David Brent.

Regal insisted that yesterday’s announcement marked a new start for the company. The placing of 56.4m shares at 150p each will raise £80m after expenses to fund what Mr Greer said would be a “very aggressive” exploration and development programme in Ukraine.

“We can hopefully take this company into a new phase,” said Mr Greer. “We have an excellent base, a first-class team, and with the equity that’s now been raised we can deliver excellent shareholder value.”

The company, which floated in 2002 and whose shares reached a high of 509p, closed up 1½ yesterday at 149p.;jsessionid=DRVKMSUEDFCHDQFIQMGSFF4AVCBQWIV0?xml=/money/2008/01/25/cnregal125.xml and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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