Group's ICG bid deadline extended


The One 51 Capital and Doyle Group consortium has been granted an extra two days to lodge a bid for Irish Continental Group (ICG).

In a statement to the stock exchange, the Irish Takeover Panel said it had agreed to extend the deadline for an offer from the consortium to 5pm tomorrow.

This followed a request from ICG's independent directors. The directors said the consortium had made "significant progress" with its offer, but would not be able to meet the original deadline of 5pm yesterday "for reasons beyond the control" of the consortium.

The Philip Lynch-led consortium is now expected to lodge its bid early tomorrow morning. A failure to meet the latest deadline would require the consortium to withdraw its offer and preclude it from making another bid for ICG for at least 12 months.

ICG's shares closed down 1.2 per cent or 25 cents at €2.50 in Dublin yesterday.

The panel had applied the June 13th deadline on June 1st following a request from the independent directors. The consortium entered into a formal due diligence process on April 13th.

Since then, tensions have arisen between the consortium and ICG over the level of progress being made by the due diligence process and the level of information being supplied to One 51 and the Doyle Group.

The consortium, which owns 20.5 per cent of the ferry group, is required to make a bid of not less than €20.75 per share for ICG.

Mr Lynch's potential bid has the backing of Bank of Ireland and HBOS.

The ferry operator is already the subject of an €18.50 a share offer from a management group led by chief executive Eamonn Rothwell.

The bid by a company called Aella, is valued at €471 million and has been backed by AIB.