FINMA grants exemption, clears way for Schmolz+Bickenbach capital hike

ZURICH, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Schmolz+Bickenbach got a boost on Monday in its fight for survival as Swiss market supervisor FINMA allowed the steelmaker’s big shareholders to increase their stakes without having to make a takeover offer for the entire business.

FINMA said on Monday that Martin Haefner’s BigPoint Capital can increase its 17.5% stake to 37% as a condition of taking part in a capital increase of at least 325 million Swiss francs ($325.91 million) without the mandatory offer requirement kicking in.

The exemption runs until the end of 2024. If Haefner still owns more than 33.3% of the company then, it must make an offer for the entire company. Shareholders last week agreed terms of a rescue plan helping conclude a power struggle over control of the money-losing Swiss steelmaker.

$1 = 0.9972 Swiss francs Reporting by John Revill