Housebuilder Abbey's executive chairman Charles Gallagher and his family moved on Thursday to bid for the remaining 4.4 per cent stake in the Dublin-listed business that they do not own, in a deal that would value the group at £328.8 million (€361 million).
The family vehicle, Gallagher Holdings Limited (GHL), made a mandatory takeover bid for the entire company in 2012 after increasing their stake above the 50 per cent threshold. This meant their holding increased to 73 per cent by the end of the offer period in September that year.
The Gallaghers subsequently continued to mop up most of the remaining shares as they were traded on the stock market, with their stake now standing at 95.6 per cent.
The £15.50 offer price for each the remaining shares marks a 1.6 per cent premium to their £15.50 closing price on Wednesday, said Abbey said in a statement. It would amount to an outlay of £14.4 million, which will be financed by existing cash resources of GHL.
“The offer is final and will not be increased,” according to the statement.
Abbey also reported it made a pretax profit of €26 million for the six months to the end of October, up from €21.59 million for the corresponding period last year, and helped by foreign exchange gains of €3.52 million.
“Our housebuilding division completed 291 sales . . . during the period, with a turnover of €105.5 million resulting in an operating profit of €25 million.”
An independent committee of non-executive Abbey directors, advised by Davy, said it recommends what it considers to be a “fair and reasonable” buyout offer to remaining shareholders. It noted that GHL has been the buyer of 79 per cent of Abbey shares that small investors have sold on the market so far this year, adding that there would likely otherwise “have been very limited independent market demand for the shares”.
IBI Corporate Finance is advising the Gallaghers on the offer.