Jupiter in talks over sale of trust

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The Independent Online
JUPITER Tyndall, the manager of Pacific Horizon Investment Trust, is in talks with another investment trust that wants to take it over, writes Rupert Bruce.

The manager, which owns 16 per cent of PHIT's ordinary shares and 39 per cent of the warrants, said that if negotiations resulted in an offer it would drop existing proposals to restructure the pounds 11.8m trust.

The announcement sparked an angry response from the board of PHIT. 'The board believes it is wrong for minority shareholders to seek to direct the future of the company, particularly when that shareholder has a potentially different interest as a member of the investment management group,' it said.

Jupiter Tyndall blocked a takeover of PHIT by Martin Currie Pacific investment trust in May despite the board's approval. Jupiter then put forward proposals to reorganise the trust's capital structure. The reorganisation would involve issuing zero-coupon convertible unsecured loan stock in place of nine-tenths of the existing share capital. Warrant terms would also be amended.

The trust is vulnerable because it is invested in out-of-favour Asian equities. It was trading at a 20 per cent discount to net asset value before yesterday's news.

Jupiter Tyndall has called an extraordinary meeting of PHIT at which it will put forward any offer for the trust, or, alternatively, the reorganisation proposals. The shares rose 2p to 24.5p.