Bain, Altor clinch Cermaq unit with raised $1.1 billion bid
OSLO (Reuters) - Private equity firms Bain Capital and Altor raised their offer for fish farmer Cermaq's (CEQ.OL) 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 PERM.UL.
State-controlled Cermaq was hotly fought over.
Marine Harvest (MHG.OL), 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 (STL.OL) and Telenor (TEL.OL), 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.
(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by David Cowell)
TOKYO - Asian shares took refuge near one-month lows as Western countries issued fresh warnings of more sanctions on Moscow after Crimea voted overwhelmingly to break from Ukraine to join Russia, as expected.
LONDON - Lloyds Bank said it will grow its lending to small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) by a further 1 billion pounds this year, seeing stronger growth prospects for smaller businesses as Britain's economic recovery takes hold.
BEIJING/HONG KONG - China reiterated its opposition on Thursday to a European Union plan to limit airline carbon dioxide emissions and called for talks to resolve the issue a day after its major airlines refused to pay any carbon costs under the new law.