Russia's Acron announces further bid extension for Poland's ZAT

05 July 2012 17:39  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Acron Group has again extended the deadline for shareholders to agree to its offer for their holdings in Polish chemical group Zaklady Azoty Tarnow (ZAT), the Russian mineral fertilizer producer said on Thursday.

The latest extension - the fourth since the original 22 June deadline was set - is to 16 July, which Acron pointed out is two days after ZAT shareholders are scheduled to vote on awarding the management board the right to raise the company's share capital by up to 75% within a three-year period.

The board wants a 'Yes' vote in order to give it a 'poison pill' defence that would effectively enable it to dilute any shares gained by Acron from what it sees as a hostile offer.

“We believe the adoption of the [share capital] resolution would be detrimental to shareholders and reduce the value of the company...but we wish to give shareholders the chance to consider the outcome of the vote in their decision on whether to sell their shares,” Acron said in a statement.

Acron has so far bid zlotych (Zl) 1.5bn ($446m, €355m) for up to 66% of ZAT, Poland's largest chemical group by revenue and a producer of nitrogen and multi-component fertilizers, caprolactam (capro), polyamide 6 (or nylon 6), oxo-alcohols, plasticisers and titanium dioxide (TiO2).

Both the treasury ministry, which holds a controlling 32.05% stake in ZAT, and the ZAT board have said this undervalues the group.

The ministry has also stated that a higher bid from Acron would probably not be acceptable because there are other factors to consider, such as whether Acron ownership of ZAT would frustrate the group's development and expansion plans.

Sources at the ministry have also conceded that it is politically difficult for Poland to sell strategic companies to bidders from historical rival Russia.

However, Acron has said that the ministry's position jars with its strategy to find decent bids for chemical assets it has struggled to sell off in recent years and that as an Acron subsidiary ZAT would gain access to cheap Russian raw materials.

($1 = €0.80)
($1 = Zl 3.36, €1 = Zl 4.22)

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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