Fincantieri extends Vard offer again

Italain shipbuilder looks to be making little headway with remaining dissenting shareholders.

Fincantieri has extended the deadline for shareholders to accept its takeover offer for Singapore-listed Vard Holdings for a fourth time.

The remaining investors have now been given until 10 March 2017 to accept the offer after the latest deadline expired on Thursday.

In early February it emerged that a number of shareholders who had previously backed the deal, had changed their minds.

The level of acceptances for the offer currently stands at 821.58m shares, or 69.6% of Vard’s shares. Three weeks earlier it was 858.2m shares, or 72.7%.

Fincantieri is offering minority shareholders just SGD 0.24 ($0.168) per share. However, Vard’s share price has subsequently risen above this level.

The Italian shipbuilder was recently urged to raise its offer for Vard by a Singapore-based investor support body who said minority shareholders had expressed concerns about the low offer price.

The Securities Investors Association Singapore (SIAS) said it had “received concerns” from minority shareholders about the offer.

“Minority shareholders are not happy. They feel that the offer came at a time when the price of share was improving,” SIAS chief executive David Gerald said in a statement.

The situation has been further complicated by the emergence of a hedge fund that has been buying up Vard shares in excess of Fincantieri’s offer price.

MVN Asset Management had acquired a 5.9% stake in Vard as of 6 February, according to regulatory filings to the Singapore Exchange.

The London-based company, which was only set up in 2015, says its focus is on what it describes as “equity event driven strategies across the globe, with a focus on Europe”.