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Offer to take Nu-Swift private: Deal values USM-listed fire extinguisher company at pounds 147m

JACQUES MURRAY, the millionaire French entrepreneur, yesterday tabled a formal offer to take Nu- Swift, the USM-quoted fire extinguisher company, private, writes Neil Thapar.

Mr Murray, who controls 66 per cent of the company, is offering 398p a share in cash for the rest, valuing Nu-Swift at pounds 147m. The terms represent a 15 per cent premium on Nu-Share's share price ahead of the bid. The shares rose 50p to close at 400p yesterday.

ADT, the security and business services group that owns almost 23 per cent of Nu-Swift, is accepting the offer in loan notes issued by Mr Murray's privately-owned firm.

Michael Ashcroft, ADT's chairman and an independent director of Nu-Swift, and Charterhouse, the merchant bank, are advising shareholders to accept the cash terms.

Mr Murray indicated his buyout plans last July when Nu-Swift reported a fall in taxable profits from pounds 20.2m to pounds 14m for 1992, on sales down from pounds 327m to pounds 319m.

He said the buyout had been proposed because fewer than 12 per cent of Nu-Swift's shares were in public hands. 'In the board's opinion the continued trading of Nu- Swift shares is not currently serving any useful purpose.'

In recent years Nu-Swift shares had not been issued to fund acquisitions or raise new capital.

'The permission to deal in the USM imposes a costly administrative and regulatory burden on Nu-Swift which is unlikely to yield any significant benefits for shareholders in the foreseeable future.'