Habas sues UK's Duet, claims breach of contract on NSI shares

April 23 Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:18am EDT

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April 23 (Reuters) - The Dutch unit of Israel's Habas Investments filed a lawsuit against British private equity and hedge fund Duet Asset Management, alleging breach of contract last year to buy shares of Nieuwe Steen Investments (NSI).

As part of debt settlement talks, Duet last August offered to buy its Dutch-based unit's Habas Tulip's 20 percent stake in NSI for 57 million euros ($78.6 million). But a closing date in September passed with no deal completed. Habas said Duet had signed a binding offer.

Habas Tulip said in court documents on Wednesday it suffered heavy economic damage since it was forced to sell NSI's shares at a lower price.

Duet officials in London declined to comment.

Habas Tulip is seeking compensation of 3.3 million euros from Duet and wants it to acquire its remaining shares in NSI for 50 million euros and pay punitive damages of 10 million euros.

Shares of Tel Aviv-listed Habas Investments, a real estate group, had slumped to around 12 shekels by last October from a peak of 80 shekels in May 2013. Trading in Habas' stocks and bonds have been suspended since October amid liquidation proceedings.

($1 = 0.7248 Euros) (Reporting by Steven Scheer)