ZURICH, April 17 (Reuters) - Sika chairman Paul Haelg has called on the Swiss chemical company’s founding family to end a bitter takeover battle by abandoning its 2.75 billion Swiss franc ($2.9 billion) deal to sell its shares to France’s Saint-Gobain.
Haelg said Sika’s share price was now “far higher” than the price agreed by the Burkard family to sell its controlling stake to Saint-Gobain, and the time was right to settle the long running feud with Sika management, which has blocked the deal.
“We are once again calling on the Burkard heirs and Saint-Gobain to see reason, to abandon their planned transaction, and to seek alternative solutions together with us,” Haelg said on Tuesday.
“We are ready,” he added in a speech prepared for Sika’s annual general meeting of shareholders.
The Burkards’ deal with Saint-Gobain triggered a long-running battle when it emerged in December 2014, prompting Sika’s board to limit the family’s voting rights.
Plans by the family to extend its agreement with Saint-Gobain beyond 2018 were designed to break the resistance of the board of directors, but would not be successful, Haelg said.
“I have said this at the last four Annual General Meetings, and I will repeat it once again today: Sika does not need Saint-Gobain.
“This hostile takeover is not in Sika’s interests. It would give Saint-Gobain control over Sika – control that the French group would only use to exploit its own advantage,” Haelg said.
“And all other stakeholders would end up paying the price. That cannot – and must not – be allowed to happen.”
$1 = 0.9616 Swiss francs Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Mark Potter