HK Fund TransAsia Seeks Control of Simec Atlantis
Economia Finanza reported that a Hong Kong wealth management firm TransAsia Private Capital has sought to control a majority of the shares of a UK listed renewable energy developer due to alleged outstanding debts of Mr Sanjeev Gupta's GFG Alliance Metals group. TransAsia Private Capital appointed GFG's Simec UK Energy Holdings to Aim McAtlantis Western SUEH as the curator of Tidal Power Group's stock listing in May. Hong Kong court documents obtained by the British Financial Times show that TransAsia has claimed more than $ 71 million in outstanding debt from Liberty Commodities, the trading arm of GFG. Three people familiar with the matter confirmed that Liberty Commodities borrowed money from TransAsia and, in return, obtained collateral for the listed shares of Simec Atlantis. Two people familiar with the matter said Mr Gupta personally secured the debt.
Simec Atlantis said it wanted to make it clear that it is an independent company, listed on Aim, whose focus has always been and will continue to provide all investors with its pioneering projects. The company said it is not a member of the GFG Alliance and has nothing to do with any funding mechanism used by the organization. Simec Atlantis is known for its pioneering tidal power generation program, MeyGen at Pentland Firth, which some people believe is a key test for commercializing tidal power generation. It is also converting the Uskmouth power plant in Wales to use biowaste.
Simec UK Energy Holdings has been a shareholder of Simec Atlantis since it acquired nearly 50% of the shares of Atlantis Resources in 2017. At the same time, Atlantis bought a former coal-fired power plant in Uskmouth in South Wales from Simec UK Energy Holdings. Mr Jay Hambro, Chief Investment Officer of GFG, is a non-executive director of Simec Atlantis.
The Guardian separately reported that, apparently related to above development, GFG Alliance has started legal action in the British Virgin Islands to prevent creditors taking over a subsidiary British Virgin Islands Company that holds a 43% stake. SIMEC Atlantis Energy was forced to update the stock market last week, saying GFG had informed it of the legal action, which is intended to challenge the validity of the receiver’s appointment.
GFG’s creditors do not have any claim on SIMEC Atlantis Energy, but the dispute has proved difficult for the smaller company, whose projects generate electricity from tides using 20m-wide underwater turbines. It also converts coal-fired power plants to run on wood pellets. Mr Gupta bought his stake in SIMEC Atlantis Energy in 2018. As part of the deal SIMEC Atlantis Energy added the branding and name of Gupta’s Simec energy interests. The company is operationally separate from GFG but GFG has the right to appoint two people to SIMEC Atlantis Energy’s board.
GFG’s creditors started proceedings last month to put Simec UK Energy Holdings into receivership, a process often used to recoup money from a borrower that has breached obligations such as making loan repayments.