Page last updated at 12:15 GMT, Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Regal Petroleum in 600,000 fine

Oil pipes
The fine handed down to Regal is the biggest in Aim's history

Oil exploration firm Regal Petroleum has been fined £600,000 by the London Stock Exchange (LSE) for "serious breaches" of exchange rules.

The LSE said Regal had failed to ensure its announcements were not misleading or false and to release price-sensitive information quickly enough.

The breaches concerned the company's oil wells in the Kallirachi project in the North Aegean Sea.

Regal said it was disappointed with the fine but pleased the matter was closed.

"At no point has it been suggested that any of the current management team have conducted their responsibilities in anything other than a proper and professional manner," it said in a statement.

Regal is listed on the LSE's Alternative Investment Market (Aim).

Record fine

The breaches relate to the company's claim that its Kallirachi project could hold up to 227 million barrels of oil. In May 2005, the company was forced to admit that the well was not commercially viable, and yielded just 30 barrels a day.

The LSE said Regal was slow in telling investors the bad news.

"The number, nature and duration of the breaches demonstrate a systemic pattern of conduct evidencing a reckless disregard for the Aim rules by Regal," said the LSE.

Nick Bayley, head of regulation at the exchange, added: "Today's public censure and fine closes an exceptional case in Aim's history. It is unprecedented in terms of the seriousness of the rule breaches involved and the resultant market impact."

"Today's action demonstrates that the exchange takes the accurate and timely disclosure of price sensitive information by quoted companies very seriously."

He added that the fine handed down to Regal was the biggest fine in Aim's history.

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