* Holders would look carefully at 1,500p bid-large investor
* Second investor says 1,650-1,700p closer to actual value
* 1,650p-1,700p "totally unreasonable" - consortium source
(Adds comment from source close to consortium)
By Raji Menon
LONDON, March 30 Major investors in Forth Ports
Plc FPT.L have backed its decision to reject an approach from
a trio of shareholders and hold out for a higher bid.
Top investors who met the management last week told Reuters
they had encouraged the group to engage with the consortium of
would-be buyers to arrive at a "sensible price".
Earlier this month, Britain's only listed ports company
rejected a second bid approach from the Northstream consortium
which valued the Scottish company at 1,340 pence per share.
The consortium, which already owns 27.4 percent of Forth
Ports shares, includes infrastructure investors Arcus and the
Peel Group. [ID:nLDE624216]
"For us and other shareholders, we don't want to hold out
for an unrealistic amount. We encourage them to engage with the
shareholders who are making the bid and see if they can get them
to pay a higher and full value for the company," one investor
near the top of the share roster told Reuters.
He added: "If the consortium were willing to pay 1,500
pence, a lot of shareholders would look very carefully at that
and would want management to also look at that."
However, broker Nomura in a note last week suggested a
possible price of 1,650 pence to 1,700 pence for a revised
Another top investor said: "We think Nomura are closer in
terms of what they think it's worth and we are pretty clear on
that and that's the message we have given the company."
A source close to the consortium however said the valuation
of 1,650 pence to 1,700 pence was "totally unreasonable".
"This could drag on for months, but at the end we could walk
away," the source told Reuters.
Industry observers have said that a new offer from the
consortium was likely to come in at around the 1,500 pence per
share mark. [ID:nLDE62B0F8]
A third major investor added: "We have to see if the
consortium comes up with a sensible price. We are keen for the
company to talk to them (but) we are not in any rush for a
Last week, Forth Ports Chief Executive Charles Hammond said
the company had agreed to meet the bidding consortium to set out
its growth prospects.
"Although the company might be worth 2,000 pence in a few
years time, that value is uncertain and it's a few years away
and it's got to be discounted to the present day. That gets you
quite a bit closer to where the share value is today," said the
He added that even taking into account the company's
property portfolio, it was not currently "hugely undervalued".
Forth Port shares, which were trading at 1,117 pence before
the bid was announced, closed at 1,390 pence, down 6 pence or
Forth Ports declined to comment. Northstream was not
immediately available to comment.
(Additional reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in Berlin and Quentin
Webb in London)
(Editing by David Cowell)