Golar LNG shares plunged after CEO quit as assets sell-off to New Fortress being completed

Tuesday, 20 April 2021
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Golar LNG Ltd shares plunged almost 8 percent after Chief Executive Iain Ross resigned after nearly four years with the Norwegian-founded LNG shipping and projects company as it was completing the sell-off of assets to US LNG-for-power projects company New Fortress Energy.

“The New Fortress Energy transactions will simplify the Golar group structure, crystalize underlying value and strengthen the balance sheet,” said the Golar LNG Ltd statement announcing the departure of CEO Ross.

“The majority of the closing conditions have been completed, including prepayment notices. Closing of the transactions is expected shortly,” Golar added.

Golar LNG Ltd also said it would immediately start the search for a new CEO, adding that Ross's contractual termination period of six months can be prolonged or reduced upon mutual agreement.

Ross, who took over the helm of Golar LNG Ltd in September 2017, had been an executive with Australian-based global energy and LNG engineering company WorleyParsons before joining Golar.

Golar LNG Ltd shares were last down 7.66 percent on April 13 at $9.76 per share on the Nasdaq global stock exchange, a low for 2021.

Golar has now closed the sale of its 50 percent stake in Hygo Energy Transition, formerly known as Golar Power, and its 32 percent interest in its US affiliate Golar LNG Partners, both to New York-based New Fortress.

Hygo itself was a joint venture set up between Golar and US private equity firm Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners.

Golar LNG Ltd's shares last fell by a large amount, more than 30 percent, on 26th of September 2020 when it was caught up briefly in a Brazilian corruption investigation.

The Golar LNG Ltd shares then had plunged to $6.83 per share from $10.14 per share in the previous session after the news emerged of Hygo CEO Eduardo Antonello being involved in the probe into certain activities before he had joined Hygo.

It came at a time when Hygo was expanding its LNG-for-power projects in northeast Brazil, now purchased by New Fortress, led by its high-profile CEO Wes Edens.

Antonello later stepped down from Hygo over the controversy and was replaced by Paul Hanrahan.

The Golar assets sales deals involving New Fortress taking over Golar’s US unit, Golar LNG Partners. and the Hygo stake, have since been approved by shareholders of Golar LNG Partners after first being revealed in mid-January 2021.

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