Unga Group’s share price on Tuesday rose to Sh39 on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), nearly matching the takeover offer of Sh40 per share that the miller received last week from Delaware-based Seaboard Corporation.
Seaboard’s offer now represents a premium of just 2.56 per cent when viewed against Tuesday’s share price.
The development is expected to make it harder for the multinational to justify its bid, which has already been criticised as discounting the miller’s book value of Sh49.2 per share as of June 2017.
When announcing its offer on Thursday last week, Seaboard said it was generous in the context of the levels at which Unga’s stock had been trading over the past one year.
“The offer values the entire issued ordinary share capital of Unga at Sh3 billion and represents premium as of October 16, 2017, which was the last business day practicable prior to the submission of the notice of intention,” the US conglomerate said in its notice.
Seaboard noted, for instance, that the offer was 32.1 per cent higher than the average price of the miller’s shares traded 270 days prior to that date.
The takeover bid has, however, awoken investors to Unga’s true value, causing a rally in its share price since it resumed trading on Monday after a two-day suspension by the NSE.
Market data shows that 22,300 shares worth Sh870,000 changed hands Tuesday at prices ranging between Sh38 and Sh41.25, indicating that some investors are betting on Seaboard to top up its offer or that a rival bid will materialise.
An independent adviser is expected to look into all aspects of the transaction, including its valuation, before making a recommendation as per the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) guidelines.
“The independent adviser’s circular will be interrogated by us and also be made available to shareholders as part of the shareholders’ circular, to enable them make a decision on whether to accept or reject the offer,” the CMA said.
Unga’s minority investors have argued that besides the discount to book value, Seaboard’s offer is inadequate since no benefit including dividends will accrue to them in the miller’s current financial year ending June.