FIMBank cash beats Rowland in £31m bid war

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Jonathan Rowland, the corporate raider, was yesterday forced to bow out of the bid battle for the trade finance company London Forfaiting, after a competing offer was declared unconditional by the board.

FIMBank, the Maltese bank, made a 29.5p a share cash offer for London Forfaiting, valuing it at £31m, that was recommended by the board in July. Yesterday it confirmed that it had won control of the company.

Mr Rowland, through his investment company Resurge, had come in with an all-share offer worth £39m earlier this month. He had hoped to turn around the support of shareholders that had already given their backing to FIMBank with the promise of a potential rebound in the stock. Some investors had bought in when shares were trading at more than £4.

But the board of London Forfaiting continued to recommend the FIMBank cash offer, and its shareholders have voted for cash in the hand.

"We are disappointed about what has happened, as we felt the FIMBank offer undervalued the business, but we wish them luck with what is clearly a good business," a spokesman for Resurge said yesterday.

The directors of London Forfaiting, who were thought to have been keen to exit the business that has been struggling for a number of years, own a 13.3 per cent stake in the company and are now set to net £4.12m in cash.

The shares yesterday closed down 1.6 per cent at 29.75p.