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RPI update on progress of offer for Wrightson

RPI update on progress of offer for Wrightson

Rural Portfolio Investments Limited confirmed today that United Kingdom investment fund Marathon has advised it is accepting RPI’s offer for shares in Wrightson Limited.

The Managing Director of RPI, Mr Craig Norgate, said Marathon’s holding of approximately 8 percent in Wrightson was not included in the substantial security holder notice lodged by RPI with New Zealand Exchange on Friday evening (18 June). The notice showed that acceptances processed to that point would bring RPI’s holding in Wrightson to approximately 33.7 percent.

Mr Norgate said that, as Marathon’s acceptance is being processed through offshore intermediaries, it was not clear at what point formal processing would be completed and then reflected in substantial security holder notices. It was clear, however, that the progress of RPI’s offer was consistent with media reports on Friday suggesting that the combination of Marathon’s acceptance with those processed by Friday evening would indicate a holding in Wrightson of approximately 40 percent.

Mr Norgate confirmed that the NZX had been informed of the Marathon position by RPI and its broker ABN AMRO Craigs prior to the commencement of trading on Friday morning.

Mr Norgate also commented on the Wrightson board’s statement on Friday (18 June) regarding discussions with Fonterra about the possibility of an amalgamation in the rural supplies business. “The board has commented on this idea before, and any value in it has long since been priced in to the stock,” he said. “In reality, there appears to have been precious little progress on it, and no information for shareholders to assess it. It’s disappointing to see more vague promises of this nature being made in a desperate and defensive attempt to influence shareholders at the eleventh hour.”

RPI’s offer is for sufficient shares to increase its shareholding in Wrightson to 50.01 percent. The offer is at $1.65 per share – 41 cents, or 33 percent, higher than the market price of Wrightson immediately before the announcement of the offer on 6 April.

The offer will close at 5 pm this Wednesday, 23 June.

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