BW LPG revises takeover bid for Aurora

BW LPG revises takeover bid for Aurora

BW LPG has renewed its offer to take over Aurora LPG and has offered over 10% more cash, which has met with approval from the company’s board.

In the revised tender, Aurora shareholders will be offered a consideration of either 0.3175 shares in BW LPG and NOK 7.40 ($0.91) in cash, which is 20% more than offered previously. Alternatively, shareholders will receive NOK 12.30 ($1.48) in cash for each of their shares, a 10% increase on BW’s former offer.

Aurora’s board has recommended the offer, which it today said is “more reflective of underlying asset values”, is fairer to its shareholders and has a more realistic chance of completion.

“This was an opportunity we had to increase our position in Aurora at attractive prices. In general, this is in line with our overall strategy to invest counter-cyclically and grow through market downturns,” Arathi Menon, assistant manager of BW LPG’s communications and branding, told Splash of the takeover.

The revised offer has already been pre-accepted by shareholders representing more than 50% of Aurora’s outstanding shares, including by private investment firm Sundt, of which Aurora’s chairman Leiv Askvig is CEO.

“After having extensively explored multiple options to enhance shareholder values, the board is of the opinion that the revised offer represents the best solution for the Aurora LPG shareholders taken into consideration both financial outcome and transaction risk. It will also enable Aurora LPG shareholders opting for settlement in part BW LPG shares to maintain their exposure to and participation in the future upside in the VLGC market,” Aurora said in a filing to the Oslo Børs.

Transpetrol Ltd, which owns 9.84% of Aurora, has already given its irrevocable acceptance of BW LPG’s previous offer for all of its 2,919,655 shares in the company.

Together, BW LPG and Transpetrol hold 44.17% of shares in Aurora LPG, excluding treasury shares held by the company itself.

BW LPG, which is controlled by the Sohmen-Pao family, first started buying more shares in Aurora when its rival Avance Gas initiated buyout plans for the company late last year. Avance’s takeover offer was withdrawn in December.

In late September, BW LPG bought another 2.96% stake in Aurora, which increased its shareholding to 32.79% (9,730,654 shares).

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.

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