Bid by Roditi may signal move to stock market

The mystery surrounding Nicholas Roditi, the publicity-shy investment manager with an estimated annual income of pounds 50m, deepened yesterday after his privately-owned firm, Rovida International, said it was considering a bid for Plantation & General Investments, a small quoted company.

Rovida said that if an offer were made for Plantation & General, it would be in the region of 58p per share, valuing the company at slightly below pounds 20m. Plantation shares yesterday rose 9p to close at 61.5p.

The potential bid, which Rovida said was conditional on the support of Plantation directors and "certain major shareholders", led to speculation yesterday that Mr Roditi may be looking for a suitable quoted vehicle to make his stock market debut.

Plantation, registered in London, is a holding company with a range of interests, including tea estates in Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Malawi, together with coffee, sisal and rubber plantations.

The company also owns several small agricultural hand tool companies making plantation hoes in Thailand and Brazil. Plantation made profits after tax of almost pounds 4.6m in 1995.

Mr Roditi, who refuses all press interviews, was named last year by Financial World, a New York-based magazine, as being in the top 10 money makers among US finance houses. He chooses to work from a small, nondescript office above branches of Gap and the Body Shop in Hampstead High Street, London.

Mr Roditi manages a key part of the Quantum Quota fund on behalf of George Soros, the financier who shot to fame after making pounds 650m from Britain's ERM crisis in 1992. Last year Mr Roditi delivered a return of 160 per cent for investors. In cash terms the value of the fund shot up from pounds 350m to pounds 900m.

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