(Updates after Novera statement)
LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - British landfill gas company Infinis is racing ahead of 3i (III.L) in the one-on-one battle to take over UK wind and landfill gas company Novera NOEN.L.
Infinis, owned by Guy Hands’ private equity company Terra Firma, said in a regulatory statement it now has 28.1 percent of the shares in Novera after buying stock in the last two days at 90p per share, valuing Novera around 112 million pounds ($221.7 million).
Potential bid rival 3i Infrastructure Fund (3IN.L) announced last month it was prepared to buy Novera for 90p per share and had bought a 10 percent stake via bid vehicle Harrier Acquisitions.
Shares in Novera closed flat at 89p on Thursday, suggesting investors believe a takeover of at least 90p a share is almost inevitable.
Neither 3i nor Infinis can table a formal offer until Novera settles a dispute with the Waste Recycling Group, on whose landfill sites it extracts gas. The dispute is scheduled to go to court on April 7-8.
In a statement on Thursday, Novera said it was advising shareholders to take no action until the outcome of the court hearing was clear.
Novera extracts methane from decomposing waste on landfill sites that can then be burnt to generate electricity.
3i was not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Chris Wills, editing by Will Waterman)