Trust asks Panel to act over possible bid

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THE BOARD of Pacific Horizon Investment Trust has asked the Takeover Panel to make Jupiter Tyndall, the trust's manager, disclose the identity of a rival investment trust it is talking to about making a bid. It also wants to be involved in any negotiations.

When Jupiter Tyndall announced last Wednesday that it was in talks to sell its holding in PHIT - it has 16 per cent of the ordinary shares and 39 per cent of the warrants - the board said it was 'astonished'. It also questioned whether Jupiter faced a conflict of interest as manager to the fund and a minority shareholder negotiating the trust's future.

PHIT's board meets next Tuesday to decide on a circular to shareholders that will be sent out to convene an EGM. It will express its views about the Jupiter announcement.

Jupiter blocked a takeover of PHIT by Martin Currie Pacific investment trust in May, despite the board's approval. Jupiter then put forward proposals to reorganise the capital structure. The reorganisation would involve issuing zero-coupon convertible unsecured loan stock in place of nine-tenths of the existing ordinary share capital. Warrant terms would also be amended.

The trust is vulnerable because it is invested in out-of-favour Asian equities. It was trading at a 20 per cent discount to net asset value before last Wednesday's announcement.

In a separate development, Regent Fund Management, an investment company based in Hong Kong and co-managed by Jim Mellon, one of the old Tyndall group's directors, has built a 20.1 per cent stake in Hong Kong Investment Trust, also managed by Jupiter. Tyndall was taken over by Jupiter last year.