UPDATE 1-Bain, Altor clinch Cermaq unit with raised $1.1 bln bid

Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:15am EDT

* Raises bit to NOK 6.5 bln from NOK 6.2 bln

* Deal ends 3-month takeover struggle

OSLO, July 18 (Reuters) - Private equity firms Bain Capital and Altor raised their offer for fish farmer Cermaq's EWOS feed unit to end a three-month takeover struggle for the Oslo-listed firm.

Cermaq, which operates primarily in Norway and Chile, agreed to sell its biggest unit to the private equity firms after they raised their bid to 6.5 billion crowns ($1.08 billion) from 6.2 billion crowns, beating a competing offer reportedly from private equity firm Permira.

State-controlled Cermaq was hotly fought over.

Marine Harvest, the world's biggest fish farmer, kicked off the battle for the whole company in April, scuppering Cermaq's own expansion plans then making a hostile offer.

The state, which owns such blue chips as Statoil and Telenor, refused the initial offer and instead raised its stake in Cermaq to 59 percent from 43.5 percent.

The private equity bid that followed, reportedly solicited by Cermaq, will hand the state a quick profit on its investment as Cermaq said it would pay out 4.5 billion crowns to 5 billion crowns or 48-54 crowns per share in an extraordinary dividend.

The stripped down Cermaq, still majority owned by the Norwegian state, will focus on developing its farming activities in Norway, Canada and Chile, relying on EWOS products in farming activities.

Cermaq shares ended up 0.5 percent 107.5 crowns per share.

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