Russia’s Acron ‘surprised’ at Polish opposition to ZAT bid

14 June 2012 14:05  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Russia's Acron Group is surprised that Poland’s treasury ministry is backing efforts to fend off its bid for the Zaklady Azoty Tarnow (ZAT) chemical group, Acron said on Thursday.

"The view expressed by the Polish treasury is more and more surprising to us, it shows a lack of consistency on the ministry’s part," Acron's vice president Vladimir Kantor said in a statement.

"Acron's bid is a response to [the Polish government’s] 2012-2013 privatisation plan," he added.

Despite the position of the treasury ministry, Acron, a mineral fertilizer producer, said it remained determined to continue with its bid for up to 66% of ZAT, which it values at zlotych (Zl) Zl 1.5bn ($439m, €349mm).

Shareholders have until 22 June to accept the offer, made at a rate of Zl 36 per share.

Acron has criticised the ministry, which has a controlling holding of 32% in ZAT, for recommending that shareholders refuse its offer as too low without its officials even having conducted negotiations on what investor guarantees could be offered.

As an Acron subsidiary, ZAT, for instance, could access cheaper raw materials from Russia, it said.

However, Polish deputy treasury minister Rafal Baniak insisted that Acron ownership would be the wrong move for ZAT as it could disrupt the group’s expansion plans.

He added that he "does not rule out that some time soon that there will be another offer for ZAT from a second bidder".

A source at the treasury said it is hoped that this bid would come from a "white knight" that would not only offer shareholders more for ZAT but would back its 2012-2020 strategy, released on Wednesday.

The ZAT group produces nitrogen and multi-component fertilizers, caprolactam (capro), polyamide 6, oxo-alcohols, plasticisers and titanium dioxide (TiO2).

($1 = €0.79)
($1 = Zl 3.42, €1 = Zl 4.30)

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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