Payment delay for Woodchester


Woodchester shareholders who accepted the General Electric Capital Corporation offer for their shares will not receive payment for some weeks, because all the regulatory approvals required to complete the deal have not yet been received. Many shareholders expected to receive the 263p per share offered this week.

GE Capital is understood to have applied to the Stock Exchange Takeover Panel for an extension of the 21 day period for which an offer can remain open, after going unconditional following acceptance by shareholders.

That 21 day period expired yesterday. The panel is expected to allow an extension.

Because Woodchester has a number of banking licences the £591 million takeover of the company must be approved by central banks in Ireland, Britain and Portugal. The GE Capital offer was conditional on receipt of these approvals. The central banks involved are understood to be examining the deal.

The takeover has already been approved by the European Commission. EU Competition Commissioner Mr Karel van Miert said its investigation of the takeover showed "the operation will not result in any significant combined market shares in the sector of financing of assets and therefore it has decided not to oppose the merger".