* Raises bit to NOK 6.5 bln from NOK 6.2 bln
* Deal ends 3-month takeover struggle
OSLO, July 18 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
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
Cermaq shares ended up 0.5 percent 107.5 crowns per share.