FWIW. I believe that Sberbank has a lien--collateral--on all of Max's property. Wells, etc. The whole works. So they aren't likely to lose their investment, although it would be time consuming to realize on a sale of the property. My take is that they might extend the repayment schedule or they have some info as to a possible takeover. But, I could be wrong and they just may be stupid or incompetent. I doubt that.
Hows this with all the negative rns's of late do you think they could of been manipulated (figures/reserves). So that srebank could aquire the shares at a much cheaper price. Macquarie had mxp over a barrel in the past and its mxp way of getting back at them. Stranger things have happened. Take into account srebank saved them from brink of no return, you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours....
As a knocker (whatever that is jester16 ;) I agree that Sberbank exercising their options is a positive sign. No doubt they've got a much deeper inside knowledge of the finances and the well data than any PI or II. However, put it into context that their $5m investment is small fry compared to their desire to get their $80m of debt back.
I've no reason to think that Max couldn't continue as a debt repayment company and, at the very least, pay back Sberbank out of their ongoing production (though that might involve cutting down their drilling campaign even further, depending on the timing of that repayment). So if that's fairly safe, I can imagine that the share purchases can be considered as a simple investment and a positive reflection of their opinion of Max.
Given that any catalyst for major share price movement would involve NUR-1 (I can still see that shallows making the company worth 2-3p or maybe a bit more, if given time to firm them up and repay a good deal of debt out of production), it is possible that Sberbank has bought these shares knowing that, at some point in the future to stop this being insider trading, they'll let Max spend $20m of their own money finishing off NUR-1. It's hard to work out the chance of that though. By the end of March Max should have made the first repayment of the $90m loan, however at last count Max had "unrestricted cash of approximately US$11.6 million as of 28 December 2013." so this shouldn't be an issue.
It would also be good to know how high their netback is now with their cost cutting regime, what their production is and how much they're saving a month. Based on previous year's figures and 4500 bopd, their income is marginally ($300k per month) over their outgoings, without repaying anything from the debt. I can't see them putting together a "spare" $20m without Sberbank changing their debt repayment schedule (unless it's heavily weighted towards 2016 and onwards already, which is possible).
So it's a positive sign, but there are still many risks and unknowns.
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