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SIAS calls on Fincantieri to extend offer period for Vard

INVESTOR advocacy group Securities Investors Association Singapore (SIAS) has called on Fincantieri Oil & Gas to extend the offer period for Vard Holdings following a messy extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Monday.

On Wednesday, Citigroup, acting on behalf of Fincantieri, added to the confusion when it declared in the morning that the exit offer has become unconditional, only to correct itself later at night, saying the offer remains conditional given that the Singapore Exchange (SGX) is currently reviewing the EGM proceedings.

At the EGM, held for shareholders to vote on Vard's voluntary delisting proposal, there had been confusion over whether the chairman was going to adjourn the vote after an error was discovered in the report by CIMB, the independent financial adviser to Vard's independent directors.

Shareholders complained that Vard proceeded with the voting while they were still awaiting answers to their questions.

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In a press statement on Wednesday, SIAS president and CEO David Gerald said that Vard shareholders have approached the group to express their unhappiness over the EGM.

"SIAS has been in contact with SGX and understands that RegCo has prioritised and will expedite its review of the conduct of the proceedings of the EGM and the issues raised regarding disclosures in the delisting circular to determine whether shareholders' approval for the delisting resolution was properly obtained," he said.

"Given that SGX is currently reviewing the conduct of the proceedings of the EGM, SIAS calls upon Fincantieri to extend the offer period to allow shareholders sufficient time to evaluate and accept the offer following the result of the SGX review."

The exit offer is currently open for acceptance until 5.30pm on May 14.

As part of the delisting exercise, Fincantieri is making an exit offer to buy the remaining shares that it does not own at 25 Singapore cents apiece. This is its second attempt, one Singapore cent more than its previous offer made in 2016.

As at April 30, 5pm, Fincantieri and its concert parties own and have agreed to acquire shares representing 83.77 per cent of Vard.