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UPDATE 1-ICT says investor to report stake as shares soar
January 4, 2011 / 4:00 PM / in 7 years

UPDATE 1-ICT says investor to report stake as shares soar

* ICT says investor has built up “reportable” stake

* Market talk that British company interested in ICT

* Company denies it is in takeover talks

* Shares up more than 15 pct at highest level since Nov 2008

(Adds details, company comment)

By Aaron Gray-Block

AMSTERDAM, Jan 4 (Reuters) - ICT Automatisering (ICTA.AS) said on Tuesday an investor had built up a stake in the Dutch software developer after its shares surged to their highest in more than two years on talk it was a takeover target.

ICT spokeswoman Arina Rengelink denied that ICT was in takeover talks but said the firm had been contacted by an investor who would shortly be reporting their stake to the Dutch stock markets authority AFM.

“We are not busy with a takeover. We have not been approached by any party,” Rengelink said.

ICT, which has a stock market capitalisation of just 45 million euros at Monday’s close, has gone through a turbulent period with the unexpected departure of its chief executive and the exodus of a fifth of its staff.

Shareholders in Dutch companies must report a holding once it exceeds a 5 percent threshold and multiples of 5 percent thereafter.

Rengelink declined to say how big the investor’s stake was or disclose the investor’s identity, saying only there was high volume trading.

Earlier in the day, there was market talk that ICT was a takeover target.

“A U.K. company three times bigger than ICT is said to be interested in taking over ICT,” said trader Hedy Talens at brokerage AEK in Amsterdam, declining to indicate which company might be interested in the firm.

ICT shares rose more than 15 percent, reaching their highest level since November 2008, and were up 8.8 percent at 5.615 euros at 1514 GMT in a slightly negative Amsterdam market.

An AFM spokeswoman did not say whether a filing has already been made, but filings are eventually made public.

ICT develops software for products such as high-end medical equipment, digital television, navigation systems, voice-over IP and infrastructure applications.

Chief Executive Bram Schot resigned unexpectedly in October due to a difference of opinion with the supervisory board over company strategy and is yet to be replaced.

At the time, SNS Securities analyst Victor Bareno said the management problems had led to greater uncertainty about the company, which was hit in 2010 when about one fifth of its staff suddenly quit due to a dispute with management.

ICT had net profit of 2.8 million euros ($3.75 million) in the first half, including a one-off gain, after it merged several units to improve its regional presence and marketing abilities. (Editing by Sara Webb)

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