Baring trust may attract new bidder

EDINBURGH Fund Managers (EFM) has signalled it could join the growing list of companies poised to bid for troubled Baring Tribune Investment Trust.

EFM said it was "monitoring" the situation at Baring Tribune, and sources close to the company confirmed it was considering a bid. One said: "EFM is biding its time - it's waiting to see how things develop."

At the annual general meeting last week, Baring Tribune fought off proposals from Advance UK, a pounds 50m vulture fund, to unitise - become a unit trust.

Advance UK argued its proposals would let shareholders realise the full value of their assets. Baring Tribune had been trading at around a 10 per cent discount to its underlying asset value.

The proposals were voted down by 56.8 to 43.2 per cent. Smaller shareholders voiced concern about the longer-term benefits of unitisation.

Baring Tribune's management has said it recognises the case for change. The trust's board is considering a range of proposals, including a plan from Legal & General to convert the trust into a UK tracker fund.

Fleming Claverhouse Investment Trust, the FTSE specialist trust, has also said it is considering taking over Baring Tribune, but only with full approval of Baring Tribune's board.

Iain Watt, head of EFM, has in the past criticised the growing number of so-called arbitrageurs who buy up shares in under-performing investment trusts and force them to unitise.

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