Sweeter Offer For UEM Edgenta’s Stake In Opus

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KUALA LUMPUR: New Zealand-based Opus International Consultancy Ltd (Opus) shareholders will receive a higher offer of NZ$1.92 per share after it was allowed to declare higher dividends.

WSP Global Inc had offered NZ$1.78 for UEM Edgenta Bhd’s 61.2% stake in Opus under the takeover offer announced on Aug 30.

The NZ$1.78 excluded a dividend of five cents which WSP Group had earlier allowed Opus to declare, raising the offer to NZ$1.85.

With the latest development, WSP allowed Opus to declare an additional seven cents as dividend, raising the takeover to NZ$1.92.

Based on 90.51 million Opus shares held by UEM Edgenta, it will receive NZ$173.8mil or about RM543.7mil compared with the earlier NZ$167.44mil (RM512.48mil) offer.

“This increase to WSP’s offer price means that if Opus shareholders accept the offer, they will receive NZ$1.92 per share – comprising 14 cents per share in dividends to be paid by Opus, together with NZ$1.78 per share paid by WSP,” it said.

UEM Edgenta announced to Bursa Malaysia on Sept 5 the proposed disposal of Opus was an opportunity for the former to monetise its investment upfront at a healthy premium over the current market price and will enable the company to reduce its gross gearing from 0.8 times (post drawdown of Sukuk of RM300mil in April 2017) to 0.4 times.

Opus is a leading multi-disciplinary infrastructure consultancy. It provides services on leading infrastructure projects for both the public and private sectors.

As for WSP Group, it provides technical expertise and strategic advice to clients in the property & buildings, transportation & infrastructure, environment, industry, resources (including mining and oil & gas) and power & energy sectors.

Opus’ independent directors had also recommended shareholders accept the offeror’s increased offer. They added they intended to accept the increased offer for the shares that they hold or control.

WSP had has also entered into additional lock-up agreements with three institutional shareholders of Opus — Accident Compensation Corporation, Salt Funds Management Ltd and Aspiring Asset Management Ltd – to sell all their Opus shares.

This brings the total of Opus shares under lock-up agreements, including those held by UEM Edgenta to 70.55%.- THE STAR