* Swedish firm to bid $11 HK/share for China’s No.3
* SCA already owns 21.7 percent; Vinda board recommends offer
* Bid values Vinda at 9.4 bln crowns ($1.4 bln
* SCA is targeting Asia as growth market (Adds CEO comment)
By Anna Ringstrom and Simon Johnson
HONG KONG/STOCKHOLM, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Swedish hygiene products firm SCA said on Monday it would make a cash bid for control of Chinese tissue maker Vinda as part of a strategic push into fast-growing Asian markets.
SCA Chief Executive Jan Johansson told Reuters Vinda International Holdings Ltd’s board recommended the planned 11 Hong Kong dollar ($1.42) per share offer, which values China’s third-biggest household paper firm at 9.4 billion crowns ($1.4 billion).
SCA, whose main market is Europe but which already owns 21.7 percent of Vinda, said it hoped to finalise the deal in the fourth quarter.
It has named Asia a priority due to rising demand for hygiene products as living standards rise. It expects Asia to make up more than half of global hygiene market growth in coming years and China to account for the bulk of that.
“As a majority shareholder, we would see the potential to further strengthen the company to ensure its future competitiveness,” SCA said about Vinda.
Vinda’s household paper products include toilet paper, pocket handkerchiefs, boxed facial tissue and paper napkins.
SCA said the bid represented a 34.5 percent premium over Vinda’s average closing price in the last month.
It said Fu An, Vinda’s biggest shareholder with 23.8 percent, had committed to selling a 2.1 percent stake.
SCA had yet to talk to other shareholders, Johansson said.
It aimed to co-ordinate Vinda’s distribution with that of SCA, which last year boosted its diaper and incontinence care presence in China with the acquisition of Everbeauty.
“That would give us great strength on the Chinese market,” the CEO said.
SCA - the world’s third-biggest maker of tissues, toilet paper and wipes - plans to present the complete prospectus for the offer by Sept. 30.
The bid is conditional on SCA getting more than half of fast-growing Vinda’s shares. SCA intends to maintain the listing status of Vinda after the deal, it said, something that requires a free float of at least 25 percent.
“It can be good to have access to the capital market. Short-term we see no such need but we might do long term, depending on the speed of consolidation in China,” Johansson said.
SCA expects substantial consolidation in coming years on the very fragmented Chinese hygiene products market and Johansson said he wanted Vinda to take part.
Vinda grew its turnover by 26 percent in 2012, to around 5 billion crowns. SCA, whose rivals include Kimberly-Clark Corp and Procter & Gamble Co, had sales of 85 billion with its Asia-Pacific division accounting for about 5 percent.
Vinda, which makes up nearly all of SCA’s tissue business in China, has an estimated 12 percent market share, trailing Hengan International and Asia Pulp and Paper (APP).
Johansson said SCA, which targets no. 1 or no.2 market spots in each of its product segments, backed plans by Vinda to nearly double tissue output in the next few years to 1 million tonnes.
Shares in Vinda soared 36.9 percent on the news of the bid to 10.9 Hong Kong dollars, just below the bid level.
For the statement click here ($1 = 7.7562 Hong Kong dollars)
($1 = 6.6736 Swedish crowns)
$1 = 7.7562 Hong Kong dollars Editing by Mark Potter, John Stonestreet