Pronova shareholder Odin holds out for higher offer

OSLO Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:18am EST

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OSLO Jan 16 (Reuters) - A shareholder in Norwegian fish oils maker Pronova said it remained unimpressed by BASF's sweetened bid, showing the German group still has obstacles to surmount for its offer to succeed.

"I'd be surprised if we end up accepting it," Alexandra Morris, a fund manager with Odin Forvaltning, which holds 4.7 percent in the Norwegian target, told Reuters.

BASF, the world's largest chemicals maker, on Tuesday lifted its offer for Pronova to 13.50 Norwegian crowns ($2.43) per share after its initial 12.50 crown offer failed to attract enough acceptance.

Morris, who said Odin had not yet finally decided whether it would tender its shares in favour of the offer by the Friday 1530 GMT deadline, may play a pivotal role, as BASF has made its bid conditional on receiving at least 90 percent shareholder acceptances.

"I've talked to other shareholders and there are many that are still unhappy with this bid. But clearly it's better than 12.50," she said.

"We encourage all minority shareholders to sit on their shares, because this is probably not the last thing we heard from them. BASF may well end up accepting less than 90 percent," she added, defying BASF's pledge on Tuesday that 13.50 crowns was its "last, best and final offer".

Prior to BASF's mark-up, it had been offered just short of 70 percent of its target's shares. That includes Herkules Private Equity Fund - which holds 50 percent in Pronova and is bound by an agreement to sell for 12.50 crowns per share.

BASF wants to boost its nutrition business and capitalise on the Norwegian firm's expertise in the extraction of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil for use in drugs and food supplements.

Pronova shares fell 3 percent to 12.85 crowns, well below the 13.50 crown offer price, indicating scepticism that holdout shareholders will be rewarded with a higher bid. ($1 = 5.5652 Norwegian krones) (Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg; Writing by Ludwig Burger; Editing by David Holmes)

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