The board of Neverfail Springwater has all but conceded defeat in its attempt to ward off a hostile takeover bid by the Australian soft drinks producer Coca-Cola Amatil.

Neverfail chairman Geoff Tomlinson conceded that he expected Coca-Cola Amatil to win voting control by gaining the required 50.1% of shares in a A$2.35 a share offer.

Neverfail's board has so far urged its shareholders not to accept the offer from Amatil, which is the second offer to be rejected. The first was at A$2.25. Amatil said yesterday that it would not sweeten its offer again unless a rival bidder appeared - a scenario that is looking less and less likely, despite efforts by Neverfail to court international suitors such as Danone and Nestle.

"Have I got a commitment from anyone [a rival bidder]? The answer is clearly no," Tomlinson said. "Obviously as each day goes by, the chances of a commitment become less."

"I do expect Coca-Cola Amatil will end up getting more than 50.1% but less than 89.9%. I think that will be a sensational result for all shareholders," Tomlinson said. He added that he believed Amatil would make a good majority shareholder because of the company's expertise, good corporate governance standards and quality people.

Tomlison's quotes were made as news broke that Perpetual Investments said that at this point it would be selling it remaining 5% stake in the company.