March 14, 2011 / 8:13 AM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 4-London Fire Brigade partner AssetCo snubs Arcapita bid approach

* Rejects approach by Bahrain firm, calls it opportunistic

* Confirms no offer talks with any firm

* Shares rise 20 pct (Adds details from Arcapita statement)

By Tresa Sherin Morera

BANGALORE, March 14 (Reuters) - AssetCo Plc , the largest outsourcing partner to the London Fire Brigade, rejected what it called an opportunistic takeover approach from Islamic investment firm Arcapita , and said it received a new loan from its principal bank.

AssetCo shares, which have lost 66 percent of their value over the past month, were up 20 percent at 19 pence at 1500 GMT, making them one of the top gainers on the London Stock Exchange.

Bahrain’s Arcapita said in a statement on Monday that it made an indicative cash proposal last week, which was supported by AssetCo’s Chief Executive and largest shareholder John Shannon, who owns a 29.7 percent stake in the company.

“Arcapita confirms that it is still considering its options in relation to the company and will make a further announcement when appropriate,” it added.

Arcapita executives were not immediately available for comment.

The company also said it received a 1.45 million pound ($2.3 million) short-term loan from its principal banker to make certain critical payments.

On March 3, the company said it planned to raise about 16 million pounds through a discounted share placing.

“The fact that there’s still people interest in the business is probably reassurance for the investors,” analyst Andy Hanson at Northland Capital Partners told Reuters, adding that the banker looks to be relatively supportive.

The British support services provider rebuffed the latest offer approach nearly a month after its short-term funding issues punctured offer talks with a third party.

“The independent directors consider the current approach to be opportunistic and not in the interests of shareholders as the indicated price range included an offer at a discount to the current market price,” AssetCo said in a statement earlier on Monday.

The Sunday Times had reported AssetCo is understood to have received a formal bid from an Arab investor after it turned to shareholders last month to help solve its funding problems.

The AIM-listed company, however, confirmed it was no longer in talks with anyone.

AssetCo, which is valued at 14 million pounds, is the only company to have a fully outsourced fire and rescue service in the Middle East, according to the company’s website.

Last month, the United Arab Emirates awarded a deal worth 853.6 million dirhams ($232.4 million) to Emirates Response Service and AssetCo to provide fire fighting services, human resources, equipment and maintenance. ($1 = 0.615 British Pounds) ($1 = 3.673 UAE Dirhams) (Reporting by Tresa Sherin Morera in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian, Roshni Menon)

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