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Fincantieri makes another bid to delist Vard; offers S$0.25 per share

THE majority shareholder of Vard Holdings is making another bid to privatise the shipbuilder after minority shareholders rejected its earlier offer.

Italy's Fincantieri SpA, which holds a 79.34 per cent stake in Vard through a subsidiary, is now offering 25 Singapore cent per for every share it does not own, one cent more than its previous offer, which closed in January.

Its current bid is being made in the form of an exit offer as part of a proposed voluntary delisting.

Its offer price is set at Vard's last traded price of 25 Singapore cents per share on Friday. It also represents a 0.9 per cent discount to the one-month volume-weighted average price of the stock, and a 0.5 per cent premium to the net tangible asset per share as at Sept 30.

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Fincantieri said that it has no plans to change Vard's existing business, but it wants to fully integrate Vard with its other subsidiaries.

"Since the acquisition of the majority stake in Vard in 2013, the offeror's objective has been to delist Vard and to implement a series of synergies in engineering and production," Vard said in an announcement.

Vard will convene a shareholders' meeting to vote on the proposed voluntary delisting. The company will also appoint an independent financial adviser.

Fincantieri held just a 55.6 per cent stake in November 2016 when it launched an offer at 24 Singapore cents per share to take Vard private. That offer price was an 11.63 per cent premium to Vard's one-month volume-weighted average price at the time.

That offer received support from Vard's independent directors at the time, and from independent financial adviser KPMG. But the Securities Investors Association (Singapore), a shareholder advocacy group, had also asked Fincantieri to raise its offer price as a response to concerns from minority shareholders that the bid was below Vard's net asset value per share.

Fincantieri's offer received sufficient acceptances to turn unconditional, but fell short of the amount required for the offeror to force a delisting.