Tecity raises offer for Straits Trading to S$6.50 a share

Tecity has raised its general offer for Straits Trading to S$6.50 a share following a counter bid from the Lee family. The revised offer values the company at S$2.1 billion.

It is 14 per cent higher than Tecity’s original offer price of S$5.70 and 31 per cent above the last traded price of Straits Trading before the general offer.

The latest offer by Tecity, controlled by the family of the late Tan Chin Tuan, is also about 13 per cent higher than the counter-bid by the Lee family.

Just last week, the Lee family that controls OCBC Bank made a bid of S$5.76 cash a share for all the shares in Straits Trading that it did not already own. The Lee offer valued Straits Trading at S$1.88 billion.

Straits Trading’s businesses range from hotels and properties to the metals and mining sectors.

Tecity and the Lee family are both shareholders in Straits Trading. Tecity has a 22.5 percent stake, while the Lees hold 34 percent.

On Monday, shares of Straits Trading rallied more than 11 percent to S$6.56 when the counter resumed trading. The stock has been gaining ground since the start of this year on takeover talk.

Still, despite the sweetened bid from Tecity, some analysts say they do not expect the Lee family to come back with a higher offer.

Straits Trading is not a widely-held stock and there is speculation the Lee family entered the fray to elicit a better offer from Tecity. That will then pave the way for the Lee family to cash out.

In the first nine months of the financial year that ended in September 2007, it earned net profits of more than S$300 million, on revenues of S$727 million.
– CNA/ch/vm

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 28 Jan 2008

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