Velocys Suspends CEO for Alleged Misconduct

Velocys plc, which focuses on development of smaller scale gas-to-liquids technology, has suspended and will investigate Chief Executive Officer Roy Lipski over allegations of serious misconduct.

The allegations do not involve any element of fraud or financial impropriety, Velocys said in a July 6 press statement.

“Mr. Lipski’s suspension does not constitute disciplinary action and does not imply any assumption whatsoever that he is guilty of any misconduct,” the company said.

The company’s Chief Financial Officer Susan Robertson will fill in for Lipski during his suspension. According to one financial blogger, the company is in a “very safe pair of hands” with Robertson, who has been with the company for some time.

Velocys’ board said that trading is in line with expectations, the company said in the statement. The company’s stock, which trades on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market, reached a new 52-week low in Monday’s trading session when it hit GBP 91.50 (USD 142.9). It closed at GBP 92.75 (USD 144.87), down 19.35 percent for the day and down by over 57 percent for the year, according to the Financial Times.

Russian billionaire and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich is now the largest investor in Velocys after increasing his stake in the company, The Telegraph reported last month. According to the Financial Times, Abramovich first invested in the company in 2013 through his investment vehicle Ervington Investment.

The company’s year-on-year revenues declined from 63.48 percent from GBP 4.75 million (USD 7.4 million) in 2013 to GBP 1.74 million (USD 2.7 million) in 2014. An increase in selling, general and administrative costs reduced the company’s net income from a loss of GBP 16.92 million (USD 26.4 million) to a larger loss of GBP 22.37 million (USD 34.9 million), according to the Financial Times.  Despite the loss, Lipski said in an April 28 statement on the company’s financial results that interest in smaller scale GTL remains high, and that 2014 was one of the company’s most successful years in history.

Lipski told Rigzone in an interview last year that the company “is at the heart of the revolution” taking place in the conversion of natural gas to fuels, or GTLs, which is being done on a smaller scale than ever before.

Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at kboman@rigzone.com

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