Nexus Energy last night appointed McGrathNicol as administrator of the debt-laden company after shareholders voted down a $27 million bailout from Kerry Stokes' Seven Group Holdings.

Talks are now under way between McGrathNicol and SGH, the biggest secured creditor of Nexus, over short-term funding arrangements.

It is thought Nexus needs as much as $70 million over coming months to satisfy various cash calls at its Longtom gas plant in Victoria and work programs for the Crux and Echuca Shoals projects in the Browse Basin, in which it is a permit partner.

The outcome of the funding talks is likely to determine how SGH plans to secure control of Nexus, or at least the coveted Crux stake. SGH is expected to issue a statement to the ASX today.

McGrathNicol's appointment last night ended a dramatic day for Nexus. A shareholder meeting in Melbourne to vote on SGH's 2¢ a share takeover lasted several hours and was dominated by angry investors questioning the board. Final voting results were not released until 5.17pm Perth time and showed that 57 per cent of shares voted opposed the SGH deal.

Nexus had long warned that failure to back the SGH deal would leave it with no choice but to appoint administrators. Nexus last night said it was "extremely disappointed" with the outcome.

The West Australian

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