Takeover Panel holds up Greene King's results

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The Independent Online
THE TAKEOVER Panel has prevented Greene King from announcing its annual results before its bid for its fellow-brewer Morland closes tomorrow.

Greene King was due to reveal its profits for the year to May today, together with a regular five- year asset revaluation which the panel has also barred.

Greene King's offer, which has been declared final, takes the form of preference shares. Yesterday's decision by the panel is in line with its standing rule which forbids announcements that could raise the value of the paper, and thus the bid.

Tony Pullinger, of the Takeover Panel, said: 'We know it is a tough decision, but it is a fairly long-standing Panel rule.

'If a bid is only paper or equity, any announcement could affect the shareholder's perception as to the value of the paper. While it is difficult to say if it will have an effect, it could have one.

'In a finely balanced situation like this we are naturally bound to be more conservative.'

The bid remains on a knife- edge. On its first closing date a week ago Greene King owned or had pledges for 46.43 per cent of Morland's shares and it has since bought a further 0.5 per cent. Neither company's shares were affected by the announcment.

The decision meant that Greene King's chairman, Simon Redman, could say only: 'Current trading remains most satisfactory and the board still intends to recommend a final dividend of 8.1p.'

The year's total of 11.6p is 15 per cent up on last year.