11 April 2014

Kenya: Rea's Sale Plan Held As Parties Battle in Court

Vania Investment Pool has obtained temporary orders stopping the Capital Markets Authority from proceeding with the approval process of sisal firm REA Vipingo's takeover by rival bidders.

Justice Weldon Korir yesterday issued orders for the parties - VIP, CMA, Centum Ltd and REA Trading Ltd - to appear before him on April 16 for a hearing. He said the matters raised were weighty and urgent.

VIP, associated with BTB Insurance Brokers chief executive Dilesh Bid, alleges that the regulator locked out its Sh80 per share bid for the listed sisal firm, thereby denying shareholders opportunity to derive maximum returns.

It also claims that the CMA acted contrary to its own takeover rules "without reasonable cause" or approval from the National Treasury as required by the CMA Act.

The Sh80 per share bid was a sweetener after Centum and REA Trading offered Sh75 a share and Sh70 a share respectively. If successful, this would be nearly threefold, 2.9 times, of the last price share traded at the Nairobi Securities Exchange at Sh27.50.

Vania now wants the CMA compelled "to approve its new offer" and accept its takeover documents that were rejected on the basis of deadline expiry. In the meantime, it wants the CMA stopped from implementing a timetable set for completion of the takeover.

It says a CMA notice setting the deadline for new offers which was published in a local daily on February 5 should be nullified.

REA Trading was the first to seek CMA's approval for a takeover of the firm in which it already has a controlling stake. Centum followed with a competing bid before www.Bid Investments, which withdrew in favour of Vania Investments, surfaced with an even higher bid.

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