Following multiple rounds of controversial equity raises, Imperial Petroleum has been handed a share price notice by Nasdaq.
The embattled Harry Vafias-led tanker owner announced after the close on Friday that it was warned by the exchange on 17 June that its share price had closed below $1 for 30 consecutive days.
“The company intends to monitor the closing bid price of its common stock during this grace period and will consider its options,” Imperial Petroleum said.
“The company intends to cure the deficiency within the prescribed grace period. During this time, the company’s common stock will continue to be listed and trade on the Nasdaq capital market.”
Imperial will be considered back in compliance if its shares close at or above $1 for 10 consecutive business days before 14 December.
In the past few weeks, the StealthGas spin-off issued more than 100m shares, first in late May, selling 72.7m to raise $40m to buy two suezmaxes from Vafias family vehicle Brave Maritime.
Then, on 13 June, it raised a further $21m by issuing 31.1m shares at $0.70 each through a warrant redemption with the Maxim Group. Those who redeemed their warrants received another warrant, totalling 31.1m.
The equity raises kicked off a combative earnings call on 14 June, at which several smaller investors demanded to know whether Imperial would continue to issue new shares, and compared the company to Performance Shipping, another Greek owner that enlisted Maxim to sell shares to raise capital to buy ships.
At one point, Vafias accused a caller of “shouting and screaming” and asked the operator to move on.
He said the company would continue to use equity raises to grow its fleet — currently eight tankers — alongside cash and debt.
“We have cash, we have very low leverage, we have growing profits, we are at a time when tankers are doing really well and we’re going to see the benefits of a rising tanker market in Q2 and Q3,” Vafias said on the call. “We just have to be patient.
“You can buy and sell our stock whenever you like. You’re not obliged to keep the stock.”
Imperial shares closed at $0.51 on Friday, rising $0.02, having started the week at $0.55.