UK’s Lonrho gets buyout offer

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Reuters | 15 May 2013
Swiss billionaire Thomas Schmidheiny seeks to take greater control of Lonrho, which has been acquiring large areas of farmland in Africa.

London: British industrial group Lonrho Plc said it received a £174.5 million ($266.2 million) buyout offer at a premium of 97.1 per cent from a company controlled by Swiss billionaire Thomas Schmidheiny and investor Rainer-Marc Frey.

Africa-focussed conglomerate Lonrho said the newly created investment vehicle, FS Africa, offered to pay 10.25 pence per share.

Lonrho shares, which closed at 5.2 pence on the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday, rose 87.5 per cent to 9.75 pence in early trading on Wednesday.

“It’s a reasonable offer,” Daniel Stewart analyst Michael Campbell said. The offer is around the company’s annual revenue, he added.

FS Africa, which controls 19.9 per cent in Lonrho together with certain parties, is a consortium comprising Rainer-Marc Frey and BIH SA, owned by Schmidheiny who was termed the fourth richest man in Switzerland by Forbes magazine in 2012.

Lonrho, whose businesses range from agribusiness to hotels, is a majority holder of carrier FastJet Plc and owner of seafood production company Oceanfresh Seafoods.
Original source: Reuters
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