AUSTRALIA: Report "backs" Southcorp offer stance
Southcorp today released details of an independent study it says supports why the company has so far rejected the advances of Foster's Group.
In a letter to Frank Swan, his counterpart at Foster's, Southcorp chairman Brian Finn said today that a report from Lonergan Edwards and Associates Limited released to the market today assessed the value of Southcorp in a range from A$4.57 and A$4.80 per share. Finn said the report "confirmed that the Foster's bid of A$4.14 per share is neither fair nor reasonable to Southcorp shareholders."
The Independent Expert has also assessed the full value of Southcorp to Foster's (including 100% of synergies) in a range from A$5.84 and A$5.97 per share.
Finn said: "The Southcorp board will continue to recommend that our shareholders reject Foster's offer and we believe that this message already has been well accepted by our major institutional and retail shareholders. The results of our recent poll of our retail shareholders show that the overwhelming majority intend to reject your [Foster's] current offer."
Finn also dismissed the idea that Foster's should seek representation on the Southcorp board. He said: "While we welcome Foster's as a major shareholder, I am sure you realise that as a significant competitor to Southcorp, Board representation for Foster's would not be appropriate."
However, Foster's said: "The valuation performed by Lonergan Edwards is questionable. Notwithstanding, it implies a stand-alone value for Southcorp of only approximately A$3.10 per share and even this relies upon successful execution of Southcorp's recovery story which is unproven and at risk. In light of this, it is difficult to see how Foster's offer price of A$4.14 cash per share (a 34% premium to $3.10 per share) is considered anything other than an outstanding one for Southcorp shareholders."
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