UPDATE 1-Court rules against Mexican airport operator GAP on stake

Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:36pm EST

MEXICO CITY Feb 26 (Reuters) - A Mexican court has ruled that airport operator Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico cannot prevent Grupo Mexico, or any other shareholder, from accumulating a sizeable chunk of its stock.

Monday's ruling, made public on Tuesday, is the latest in a long-running dispute between GAP and Mexico's largest mining company over Grupo Mexico's almost 30 percent stake in the airport operator.

Mexican law allows companies to acquire up to 30 percent of another company before launching a takeover bid. But GAP had been seeking to safeguard internal bylaws prohibiting noncontrolling shareholders from holding a stake bigger than 10 percent.

Grupo Mexico launched a takeover bid, only to drop it in March last year. The company was never clear on whether it wanted full control over GAP, or just to raise its stake.

GAP said in a statement earlier on Tuesday that it would appeal Monday's ruling.

Grupo Mexico said in its statement that it will continue to fight to uphold its shareholder rights.

Grupo Mexico had 29.6 percent of GAP shares at the end of December, according to its fourth-quarter filing with the Mexican stock exchange.

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