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US firm Seaboard still seeking to delist Unga

Unga Group
Unga Group managing director Nick Hutchinson. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

US conglomerate Seaboard Corporation will still seek to delist Unga Group #ticker:UNGA despite failing to buy out minority shareholders in the Kenyan agro-processing firm, it said on Friday.

In February, Seaboard offered to buy the 46.15 per cent of Unga’s shares that are held by minority shareholders and listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) #ticker:NSE in order to take the company private.

But it did not meet its goal of buying out three quarters of the minority shareholders.

“Seaboard has decided to waive the minimum acceptance threshold and intends to complete the acquisition of the shares for which acceptances have been received,” it said in a notice published in the Daily Nation.

Some of the listed shares are owned by a local group of investors via a vehicle called Victus Ltd, which supports Seaboard’s goal of buying out minority shareholders and delisting the firm.

Seaboard, which had about 2 per cent of Unga before the offer with Victus which has a 50.93 per cent stake, needed to acquire three-quarters of the total issued share capital to be able to take Unga private.

Market participants said Unga, whose businesses range from wheat and maize milling to baking and animal nutrition products, faced growing competition from unlisted companies, hence the desire to take it private and operate on a similar footing.

Unga Group’s  share at the NSE  was back in suspension Tuesday, a day after a resumption of trading following a three-week hiatus that saw the stock drop 4.4 per cent to Sh37.50.

The NSE said the company sought an extra two days of suspension to conclude the transfer of shares bought by the US conglomerate Seaboard Corporation in its unsuccessful takeover bid for the firm.

The stock had been suspended since July 2 prior to Monday’s brief return to trading.

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