Plantsbrook shares surge as SCI lifts holding to 8.5%

THE STRUGGLE to secure a toe- hold in the British funeral business intensified yesterday as SCI, the Texan company that recently acquired Great Southern, more than doubled its stake in Plantsbrook, the industry's largest quoted company.

Having announced a small increase in its stake last week from 2.95 to 3.2 per cent, SCI said it had acquired a further single holding that had taken it to 8.5 per cent.

A spokesman for SCI said the American company hoped to buy more shares, and described the stake as a 'strategic investment'. He refused to say how large a shareholding SCI would try to pick up.

During its successful bid for Great Southern, SCI made clear that it would be prepared to sit on a substantial minority stake if it failed to persuade the controlling Field family to sell.

It finally dislodged the Fields after increasing its offer from an original 600p a share, worth pounds 87m, to 775p, or pounds 113m.

The stake in Plantsbrook is seen as a pre-emptive move to prevent rival North American groups from entering the UK market. Loewen, the Canadian burial company, took a look at Great Southern during SCI's offer but in the end did not table a counter-bid.

SCI, the largest burial company in the US, with 873 funeral homes, has grown aggressively, acquiring more than 700 companies over 30 years.

Between 1989 and 1993 its net profits doubled to dollars 103m.

Compensation terms were also announced yesterday for Great Southern shareholders who sold to SCI at 680p, thinking they were accepting an offer that could not be raised.

They will be paid the 95p difference between the 'final' offer and the higher bid with which it was replaced after the intervention of Loewen.

The takeover panel agreed that shareholders had been accidentally misled by SCI, whose advisers, Schroders and Linklaters & Paines, left out of official documentation a crucial clause giving SCI the right to raise its bid in the event of a competitive situation arising.

Yesterday Plantsbrook shares were up 12p at 175p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Services - City, London

£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence