Activist investor Amber says bid price for Ansaldo STS still too low

MILAN, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Activist investor Amber Capital said on Saturday it was not happy with a new price set for the buyout of minority shareholders in Italian train signalling group Ansaldo STS.

The statement comes after similar comments by Bluebell Partners, setting the scene for a tug-of-war between the investment funds and Japan’s Hitachi over Ansaldo STS.

Hitachi launched a 9.5 euro per share mandatory public offer to buy out minority shareholders in Ansaldo STS on Jan. 4 after buying 40 percent of the train signalling company from defence group Finmeccanica last year at the same price.

On Wednesday Italy’s market watchdog Consob said Hitachi had to raise its offer to 9.899 euros from 9.5 euros.

“The price is still too low... we do not plan to tender our shares,” said a spokesman of the activist investor.

Amber Capital owns around 2.38 percent in Ansaldo STS.

Bluebell Partners, which asked Consob to intervene arguing the bid price should be raised to 15 euros, said on Thursday it was not happy with the new price set and would not tender its shares.

In a statement posted on its website, Consob said on Wednesday Hitachi and state-controlled Finmeccanica had colluded to keep the price of the offer for Ansaldo STS artificially low, by overvaluing loss-making rolling stock division AnsaldoBreda - which was also sold to the Japanese group as part of the deal.

“They (Consob) are totally wrong,” Alistair Dormer, responsible for Hitachi’s world-wide rail businesses, told Italian daily la Repubblica on Saturday. (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; writing by Francesca Landini; Editing by Toby Chopra)