Australia's Corporations and Securities Panel has given objections to the takeover of Australian Liquor Group by Liqourland, a subsidiary of Coley-Myer, a formal two-week extension.

It said it would seek and consider further submissions over the next 14 days. Liquorland claims that disclosures about the A$54.2m (US$27.5m) takeover were inadequate and the target company was losing money.

The panel agreed to delay payments to former ALG directors while new submissions were considered. But it made no order about impending payments to other shareholders. The interim ruling said: "The panel considers that the evidence currently before it suggests that during the first half of 2001 ALG became aware that the information on which it based revenue and profit statements and forecasts was very likely to be materially unreliable."

The former directors shareholding represented about A$10m of the total A$54.2m of the bid. The money will be paid into a trust fund pending the final determination.

In a statement, through its lawyer ALG said it was pleased the panel had rejected Liquorlands "opportunistic attempt" to re-price the completed bid. Any attempt to extend the restraint beyond 14 days would be vigorously contested.

Liquorland formally welcomed the decision and said it would immediately begin payments to the other shareholders. The ruling was also welcomed in Australia's financial press with one commentator describing it as being "Solomon like."


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