INDEPENDENT NEWS

City Forests Cash Offer Block Removed

Published: Fri 17 Sep 2004 12:08 AM
City Forests Cash Offer Block Removed
City Forests Limited today said that it had successfully removed a block that had prevented the company from being able to identify unitholders who had accepted its 85c cash offer for units in Opio Forestry Fund.
The chief executive of City Forests, Phil Taylor, said: “After several weeks of discussion we have now obtained assurances from both Computershare and the Trustee for Opio that the names of those who have accepted our offer would be disclosed to us.
“Not knowing who had accepted had been a significant impediment to our takeover process,” he said.
City Forests’ has so far received acceptances from 19 7 unitholders for 5,649,672 units representing 37.8% of the total units on issue.
“It is very encouraging that this acceptance figure includes seven out of the top 10 unitholders,” Mr Taylor said.
"Though we are very pleased with the response level from major Opio unitholders our ability to freely contact and communicate with unitholders remains an issue. This is because the Trustee continues to refuse us access to Opio's unit register in a way which would allow us to make direct contact with unitholders.
"In that regard we are continuing to explore our options. Our legal advice is that the Trustee's attitude amounts to an interference with unitholder's entitlement to receive the best information about the offer, and assistance with decision making in relation to it. We reject the suggestion that the Trustee has an obligation to ‘protect’ unitholders from approaches by us - a suggestion which we believe can only be seen as patronising to unitholders.”
Meanwhile, City Forests continues to have dialogue with the Trustee over its valuation and the apparent omission of overhead costs in its calculation.
City Forests’ 85c per unit cash offer is conditional on achieving at least 75% acceptance. In the event that this offer was to expire unsuccessfully on 8 October 2004 it is likely that Opio’s unit price will trade back to historic levels - Opio’s unit price has traded within the range of 44-60 cents over the previous three years.
End.
Forsyth Barr is advising City Forests on the takeover .
Details on City Forests are available on its website:
www.cityforests.co.nz

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