IHC bid for Colombian food producer Nutresa unsuccessful

FILE PHOTO:The logo of Nutresa is seen in Medellin, Colombia June 26, 2019. Picture taken June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Luis Jaime Acosta/File Photo

BOGOTA, Nov 18 (Reuters) - An offer by Abu Dhabi's International Holding Company (IHC) for shares in Colombian food producer Nutresa was declared void on Friday after it failed to receive the minimum number of shares, Colombia's stock exchange said in a statement.

IHC's offer attracted sales of 7.71% of Nutresa, the statement said. The Abu Dhabi-based fund had sought to buy between 25% and 31.25% of Nutresa (NCH.CN) in the offer for $15 a share.

"The Colombian stock exchange can inform the market that the public acquisition offer for common shares of Grupo Nutresa S.A., addressed to its shareholders, has been declared void," it said in an official statement.

This was the fourth offer for Nutresa shares, and the second time that a takeover bid in the company was declared void.

In mid-May, Colombian business magnate Jaime Gilinski worked with Abu Dhabi's Royal Group - the majority shareholder in IHC - in a bid to buy shares in the food producer, which was also unsuccessful.

Gilinski now owns some 31.09% of Nutresa, Refinitiv data shows and market sources say Gilinski, which is a partner of IHC's parent company Royal Group, is behind the IHC offer.

Grupo SURA (SIS.CN) is Nutresa's largest shareholder, with 35.2% of shares, while Grupo Argos (ARG.CN) is its third, with 9.95%, Refinitiv data shows.

Reuters was not immediately able to obtain comments from Gilinski, SURA, IHC or Nutresa on the situation.

Argos said in a statement late on Thursday to Colombia's financial regulator that it had decided not to participate in the public acquisition offer for Nutresa after taking into account technical, strategic and legal analyses.

SURA said that because of a legal demand brought by a minority shareholder over two of its board members who resigned last week, taking part would be risky.

The companies regulator ordered two SURA board members to abstain from participating in decisions related to the IHC offer and they subsequently resigned.

Argos, SURA and Nutresa are part of Colombia's largest conglomerate Grupo Empresarial Antioqueno (GEA).

Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb and Oliver Griffin; Editing by Alexander Smith and Daniel Wallis

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