Stock Exchange notified of Warburg's stake in Greencore: Merchant bank revealed interest to company five days after deal - Bank of Ireland left with 21.9m shares after placing fiasco

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The Independent Online
THE controversial arrangement between SG Warburg, the merchant bank, and J&E Davy, the Dublin broker, to take up to 10 million shares in the botched Greencore placing 10 days ago was yesterday disclosed to the London Stock Exchange.

Greencore confirmed that it was notified of Warburg's interest on Friday and it in turn notified the Stock Exchange yesterday.

Warburg's notification to Greencore came five working days after it gained the interest. Five days is the legal limit for such disclosure under Irish company law.

Greencore is listed in London and Dublin.

Its statement to the Stock Exchange said: 'Greencore has been notified by SG Warburg Securities Limited that it had an interest in 10,000,000 ordinary shares in the capital of the company, by virtue of it being a party to an agreement with J&E Davy.

'Warburgs has informed the company that its interest in such shares was created on 29 April 1993 and ceased to exist on 30 April 1993.'

The original placing of the Irish government's 30.4 per cent stake took place on Friday 30 April.

Warburg yesterday declined to comment further on its role in the Greencore placing, which unravelled last week when it emerged that Davy had an underwriting deal with Warburg and that Davy-controlled companies had bought in 7.5 million shares in the placing.

But a spokesman denied that Warburg was the subject of an inquiry by the Securities and Futures Authority, the London regulator.

Geoff Turner of the SFA confirmed last night that the authority would examine the role of its member firms - Warburg and Davy - in the placing, as reported in yesterday's Independent.

The arrangement between Davy and Warburg was an element in the furore that has blown up over the placing of the Irish government's 30.4 per cent stake in the privatised company a fortnight ago.

It involved Warburg agreeing to take up to 10 million shares in Greencore for a fee of pounds 550,000. Warburg and Davy agreed further to share any profits or losses arising out of the arrangement.

In the event, Davy renegotiated the deal on the day of the placing and Warburg ended up with just 2.5 million shares in the Irish company.

Other investors complained that they would not have invested in the placing had they known of the arrangements that existed between Warburg and Davy.

Bank of Ireland Group, Davy's parent, yesterday disclosed that its subsidiaries held a total of 21.9 million shares in Greencore, following its agreement to take up any shares - up to a total of 10 million - left over when the issue was re-placed on Friday.

Trading began again yesterday in Greencore's shares, which were suspended at 272p last week as the difficulties with the original placing emerged.

They fell 4p yesterday to close at 268p. The placing price was 275p.

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