Rowland tops bid for London Forfaiting

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The Independent Online

Jonathan Rowland yesterday upped the stakes in the bidding battle for the trade finance company, London Forfaiting, by making an all-share offer worth £39m.

Two-thirds of London Forfaiting's shareholders have already given their support to a £31m cash offer made last month from the Maltese bank, FIMBank, but Mr Rowland believes his offer might prove attractive enough to shareholders to win the day. Mr Rowland said: "We have made a share offer to keep as much cash in the business as possible. It also gives investors the potential to upside."

Under Mr Rowland's offer, his investment company Resurge will carry out a reverse takeover of London Forfaiting. It is offering 3.43 shares for every London Forfaiting share, valuing them at 36.87p.

To finance the deal and give capital to the enlarged group, Resurge will launch a share placing of up to £20m. Rowland Capital, Mr Rowland's family trust, yesterday committed to £5m of the placing.

London Forfaiting's board, however, was sceptical of the bid's merits. "Shareholders need to reflect on the financing of the enlarged business and on whether the levels of profitability that Resurge envisages would be capable of sustaining a share price in excess of FIMBank's cash offer of 29.5p," the board said yesterday.

FIMBank attacked Mr Rowland's offer. Margrith Lutschg-Emmenegger, of FIMBank, said the Resurge proposal "lacks credibility and seems to be an attempt by Resurge to get control of Forfaiting's cash".