Northern snubs Trafalgar move

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The Independent Online
Trafalgar House was yesterday snubbed by Northern Electric as it attempted proposals for a new bid for the company at £9.50 per share, writes Mary Fagan.

The plan, which follows the lapse of Trafalgar's £11-a-share offer last week, cannot proceed without the consent of the Northern board.

A spokesman for Trafalgar House said a request for a meeting by Trafalgar's chairman, Simon Keswick, was "turned down flat". But Northern's advisers said that while no meeting had been agreed, David Morris, chairman, had promised "to respond".

Northern's share price rose by 51p to £7.89 last night on speculation that the renewed bid would proceed, having slumped by 70p the previous day. Trafalgar has secured the written support of shareholders representing more than 50 per cent of Northern Electric and is hoping that they will persuade the Northern board to proceed.

Trafalgar has also asked the Takeover Panel for a dispensation to allow the lower bid to go ahead without the agreement of its target. The panel, which has yet to make a decision, is thought to be unwilling to set a precedent by bending the rules.

Should it decide to stick strictly to the takeover code, Trafalgar could appeal to the full panel. An attempt in 1990 by Severn Trent to relaunch a bid for Caird was rebuffed by the panel, which is keen to ensure that companies should not be subject to prolonged siege.

Trafalgar House argues that its situation is unique because Northern had last week recommended acceptance of the £11-a-share cash offer.