In a surprise move, the board of directors of Hindustan Oil Exploration Corporation (HOEC) announced that the company’s Executive Director and CFO, Ramasamy Jeevanandam, would be the Managing Director from October 1; the incumbent MD, Pandarinathan Elango, “shall be retiring” on September 30, upon completion of his current term. 

Elango and Jeevanandam joined HOEC in 2015 as “promoters” buying 3.82 per cent and 3.77 per cent stake from the previous promoters, Burren Energy. Incidentally, both were colleagues in ONGC years ago; while Elango moved to the Australian company, Command Petroleum, which later became Cairn Energy and was acquired by the Vedanta group; Jeevanandam joined a Chennai-based oil company called Hardy Oil as its Director. 

In a conference call with analysts on Friday, Elango said that he and Jeevanandam had been “friends and industry colleagues for four decades”. 

However, the announcement came as a surprise because Elango has been the key-man in HOEC ever since he joined the company. 

The other principal shareholders of HOEC are Ashok Kumar Goel, in his capacity as the Trustee of Ashok Goel Trust, holding 13.96 per cent in HOEC, and Rohit Rajagopal Dhoot, in his capacity as the Trustee of Dhoot Rohit Kumar Family Trust, with 2.29 per cent. ‘Bodies corporate’ own another 25.12 per cent — among them are HDFC with 6.39 per cent and companies that belong to Goel, Dhoot and Poddar families. 

Stock down 30%

The share price of HOEC fell from ₹238 on the morning of August 14, when the announcement was made, to ₹170.70 on August 18, losing 30 per cent in five trading sessions. 

The company reported a decline in net profit for the first quarter of the current year compared with the corresponding quarter of last year, which, it said, was because of the poor off-take of gas from its Dirok field in Assam. Most of the customers were on shut-down maintenance during the quarter, Elango said in the analyst call.