Tellurian chairman's shares sold to cover loan

U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) developer Tellurian Inc said over $25.3 million worth of its shares belonging to Executive Chairman Charif Souki were transferred and sold over the last month to cover a loan, securities filings showed.

Souki, a Tellurian co-founder, had pledged 25 million shares as collateral for a 2017 loan for real estate investments, the company said in filings in February and March with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The transfers totaled more than half of Souki's Tellurian stock, according to the filings, which did not mention the reason for the transfers.

On Feb. 7, the lenders' agent began exercising its right to start moving the shares to the agent's account. By March 1, Tellurian said that over 15.3 million shares were transferred and sold.

Souki still held around 11.3 million Tellurian shares as of March 1 worth almost $16.8 million at Wednesday's $1.48 per share closing price. Tellurian shares rose 3% to $1.53 on Thursday.

Officials at Tellurian declined to comment on the stock sale, saying it was a "personal matter."

The transfers occurred in the waning days of Tellurian's agreement to sell about $12 billion of LNG over 10 years to commodity trader

Gunvor Group

Ltd. That agreement was set to expire on Feb. 28 when Tellurian had to decide whether to start major work on its proposed Driftwood LNG export plant in Louisiana.

Both Gunvor and Tellurian declined to comment on the contract.

Driftwood is in the early stages of construction, but Tellurian has not made a final investment decision to start major work or lined up financing for the $13.6 billion project.

Souki said in a video this week Tellurian was seeking equity investors for the project that could produce or buy U.S. gas, liquefy it at Driftwood and export it as LNG to gain much higher prices in Europe and Asia than in the United States.

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