AB Ports clarifies position on Nomura offer

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The Independent Online

Associated British Ports, the UK's biggest ports operator, said yesterday it has held no further takeover discussions with Nomura, the Japanese bank, since it received an approach last month.

It is understood that Nomura's Principal Finance Group, led by Guy Hands, approached ABP's advisers, Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, on 28 April. It offered 320p to 340p a share, or about £1.1bn, but was rebuffed. Nomura considers the approach to have been formal.

In a statement on 2 May, ABP said the approach, which it considered informal, undervalued the company and its prospects. Yesterday a spokesman said ABP was making a further announcement to give clarification to investors.

"The board of ABP wishes to make it clear that, since 2 May, no discussions have been held, or are being held, with any third party or their advisers regarding any offer for the company," ABP said. Its shares were 264p on 28 April before news of the approach emerged. Yesterday they fell 13.5p to 317.5p.

It is understood that Nomura, which does not make hostile bids, considered the matter closed after ABP's rejection.