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St-Gobain's takeover bid for Sika faces new setback

PARIS, January 31, 2015

An attempt by Sika's major shareholder to sell the Swiss chemicals firm to French rival Saint-Gobain has been dealt a new blow, with Sika's board seeking to reduce the shareholder's voting rights.

The Burkard-Schenker family, which has majority voting rights in Sika but only 16.1 per cent of the shares, agreed last month to a 2.75 billion Swiss franc ($3.1 billion) takeover offer for the company from Saint-Gobain.

However, Sika management opposed the deal and its board said the family should have its voting rights reduced because they were granted in part to protect the company against takeovers.

Kepler Cheuvreux analysts said the board's move could trigger a legal dispute that might delay Saint-Gobain's purchase of Sika by up to three years.

Saint-Gobain issued a stinging response, saying the move went against all the principles of business law and Swiss governance.
 
Schenker‐Winkler Holding (SWH), a vehicle of the Burkard-Schenker family, said it considered the move illegal.

Saint-Gobain, Europe's biggest supplier of building materials, has said buying Sika would generate €100 million ($120 million) in annual cost savings from 2017, and create value for shareholders by the fourth year of ownership.

However, Sika's management has disputed the cost savings estimates as well as the industrial logic of the deal, and said it would resign if it went though.

Sika's board said the company's articles of association ruled that a registered shareholder should not hold more than five per cent of its shares.-Reuters




Tags: chemical | swiss | Sika |

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