Anite shares leap on 'magic' renegotiation of takeover deals

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The Independent Online

Shares in Anite jumped 43 per cent yesterday after the IT consultancy and services company confirmed it had favourably renegotiated the payment terms of two acquisitions.

Shares in Anite jumped 43 per cent yesterday after the IT consultancy and services company confirmed it had favourably renegotiated the payment terms of two acquisitions.

The move means the company is now likely to pay much less for both Calculus Solutions, bought in December 2000, and for Parsec Systems, bought in August of last year. Anite's shares closed up 9.5p at 31.5p.

"This morning's announcement that management has effectively persuaded the vendors of Calculus and Parsec to accept a total earnout package worth an estimated total £13.7m, against a previous estimate of £25.2m, is little short of a magic trick," said Adam Lawson, an analyst at Teather & Greenwood.

Anite said yesterday it would issue 28.3 million shares at a price of 70.7p each, worth some £20m, and would also pay out between £6.6m and £11m in cash and shares to settle the purchase of Calculus.

The company originally pledged to buy that business for £50m, and has already paid out about £15m. The extra £26.6m to £31m it agreed to pay yesterday knocks £4m to £8.4m, off the original price tag.

"I am pleased that in a falling stock market we have been able to expedite the crystallisation of certain earnout obligations, which I believe will bring increased certainty for our shareholders," said the chief executive, John Hawkins.

Anite is also issuing 2.2 million shares at a price of 122.1p each, worth £2.7m, to settle the acquisition of Parsec. It is also issuing a further £2.7m of loan notes to Parsec's sellers.

Mr Hawkins said he believed the settlement brought "further certainty" for shareholders. "We can now concentrate fully on taking the business forward to the benefit of all shareholders and we remain confident in our strategy and the positioning of the group," he said.

The company, which is continuing to review all its remaining earnout liabilities, noted that a "significant proportion" of future potential earnout liabilities related to the potential acquisition of Dati Group.

Earlier this week, Anite warned that profits for the first half of the current year could fall beneath the previous year's figure after it hiked the amount it would spend on research and development.

It also forecast flat demand from its telecoms customers thanks to the continuing uncertainty surrounding the launch of third generation, or 3G, mobile phone services.

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