Alberta Oilsands (TSX-V:AOS) added 9% on Wednesday, after a group of "concerned shareholders" said they are filing a dissident circular and are in the process of mailing to shareholders of the tiny bitumen explorer a letter demanding the resignation of the board.
The concerned shareholders say they have "been finally moved to action as AOS has consistently failed to perform over the past several years both in any real development of its assets, or in maintaining its share price."
Alberta Oilsands first acquired its Clearwater leases in the Athabasca area nearly five years ago in July 2007 and "while companies sitting with adjacent properties have witnessed as much as 10-fold increases in value (Athabasca Oil Corporation and Sunshine Oilsands Ltd. being two examples), AOS shareholders have suffered a tremendous erosion of value," the group maintains.
The group then goes on to say that "the current board are not aligned with the interests of AOS' shareholders, as they have taken excessive compensation without personally investing in the Company, hence are incentivized only to continue to draw large salaries, without regard to building the share price of the company."
The group has nominated seven directors and things will come to a head at the upcoming annual and special meeting of shareholders scheduled for June 28, 2012. As is the norm with proxy fights these days the concerned shareholders have also set up a website – http://www.saveaos.com – to further their cause.
In early afternoon trade Alberta Oilsands added 1.5c on the Toronto venture board bringing its market value to $27 million. The counter is still showing losses for 2012 – it is down 5% year to date and is worth a third less than a year ago.
Many projects in the oil sands are in danger of being scrapped or scaled down as the price Alberta producers receive per barrel continues to fall. According to new research by Wood Mackenzie "break-even costs for building new steam-driven projects are in the $65-$70 a barrel range and mining developments need at least $90-$100 oil."