Metgasco shareholder:'he just wasn’t the person for the job'
UPDATE: FORMER Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson was let go to cut costs at the ailing company according to a long-term local Metgasco shareholder.
Byron Bay investor John Vaughan said Metgasco was no longer in the business of oil and gas.
"Metgasco's just a cash box now, there's nothing left," Mr Vaughan said.
"They've blown about $120 million, and there's $28 million left, and it's cash."
"It's a publicly listed company still nominally listed in oil and gas but with no investments in oil and gas."
"Anyone could roll in with $28 million and buy it tomorrow and make toys.
"Most likely the cash that's left over will be returned to shareholders."
Mr Vaughan was part of a group of disgruntled shareholders who agitated for Mr Henderson's removal since 2013 because the company's plans were mired in government red tape and local opposition.
"He was a nice bloke, he just wasn't the person for the job," Mr Vaughan said.
At this point in time, the company didn't need any expertise in the oil and gas industry which Mr Henderson had.
"It's cheaper to say goodbye Henderson, here you go, and give the directors an extra $10,000 each a year," he said.
"Unless they can find something that's going to show significant return above the normal, they will return their cash to shareholders and wind it up."
"It's over, and I've wanted it to be over for a… long time."
THURSDAY, 9am: Long-time gasfield free campaigner Ian Gaillard has emphatically endorsed the departure of Peter Henderson from Metgasco.
"People of the Northern Rivers are happy to see the exit of Peter Henderson from Metgasco," Mr Gaillard said.
"His dogged determination to impose a gas industry on an unwilling population resulted in him and his out-of-town organisation being drummed out of the Northern Rivers."
"We can only hope that he does not try to impose a venture like this on some other unsuspecting population."
WEDNESDAY, 4pm: AFTER five years at the helm of now struggling junior gas exploration company Metgasco, CEO Peter Henderson has called it a day.
The managing director stepped down on Wednesday.
In a letter to shareholders, the Metgasco board expressed "sincere thanks" to Mr Henderson who led the company through a "challenging period and a difficult operating environment".
Mr Henderson would be paid "associated leaving costs" of $330,000 in accordance with his contractual entitlements.
The board announced the position would not be replaced "imminently" and the company was "currently reviewing staffing and resources".
When Mr Henderson began his tenure, little did shareholders or the NSW Government realise the company faced an uphill battle to develop its rich gas resources in the Clarence Moreton Basin against committed local opposition, which culminated in the history making Bentley blockade.
When Mr Henderson took the helm, the company's share price was around 30c and briefly reached a peak of just under 60c on the back of an aggressive exploration campaign and proven gas reserves in the ground.
It now sits at 6c, after the sale of the company's three gas mining exploration licences back to the NSW Government for $25 million before Christmas.
From a shareholder point of view, the Northern Rivers was simply a toxic place to do business.
The company called a trading halt on the ASX yesterday in advance of the news.