Majority shareholder ups offer to buy rest of Kenya's Rea Vipingo

NAIROBI, March 3 Mon Mar 3, 2014 6:21am EST

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NAIROBI, March 3 (Reuters) - Kenyan sisal producer Rea Vipingo's majority shareholder, REA Trading, has raised its offer to buy the rest of the company's shares by 75 percent.

REA Trading said in a statement it had proposed to buy the shares at 70 shillings each, higher than its original offer of 40 shillings a share in November.

REA Trading said its original offer had failed to account for the value of the company's land if it were put to other uses.

The latest offer is also higher than those offered by two other potential buyers, Centum Investment Company and Vania Investment Pool. Centum had offered to pay 50 shillings a share, while Vania offered 55 shillings.

Analysts said the various bids were motivated by a desire to own the huge tracts of land that Rea Vipingo has in Kenya as well as strong demand and high prices in world markets for sisal used to make twine, rope and other products.

Rea Vipingo, which also has sisal plantations in Tanzania, has 60 million shares issued on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

REA Trading also said shareholders who accepted its offer would be entitled to a pro-rata share of dividends or distributions of proceeds from future sale of land for up to 15 shillings per share.

Rea Vipingo's shares closed at 27.50 shillings on Nov.13, when they last traded on the bourse. The shares were suspended when REA Trading first unveiled its offer.

If the deal goes through, the shares will be delisted from the Nairobi bourse. (Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Duncan Miriri and Jane Merriman)

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