Conglomerate Jardine Matheson offers to buy rest of group unit for $5.5 billion

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd on Monday said it plans to buy the remaining 15% of Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd that it does not already own for about $5.5 billion to simplify the structure of the sprawling Asian conglomerate.

Singapore-listed Jardine Matheson, whose businesses include construction, aviation and automotive, has offered to pay $33 in cash for each Jardine Strategic share, representing a premium of 20% to the stock’s closing price on Friday.

“This will result in a single holding company with a conventional ownership structure and a further increase in the group’s operational efficiency and financial flexibility,” it said in a statement.

Jardine Strategic is a listed company holding most of the conglomerate’s major listed interests.

Its portfolio includes property firm Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd, supermarket chain Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd and hotel operator Mandarin Oriental International Ltd, as well as automotive companies Jardine Cycle & Carriage Ltd and Jakarta-listed PT Astra International Tbk.

Jardine Strategic also has a 59% holding in Jardine Matheson itself, which will be cancelled following the deal. Its stock exchange listings will also be cancelled.

Jardine Matheson was founded in 1832 and has businesses across China and Southeast Asia, with Hong Kong its single biggest market.

Jardine Matheson shares were 8.3% higher while Jardine Strategic has jumped 20% in Monday morning trade, whereas the broader market was up 1.8%.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore; Editing by Christopher Cushing