Offer for Berger not serious

Minority shareholders in the Jamaican based Berger Paints have been made an offer to purchase the 104,990,171 ordinary shares that are not owned by the Trinidad based, Ansa McAl group.
The offer is priced at $10.88 per share, well below the price the stock has been trading at for most of 2017 and ever since the company posted strong increased nine months results in early February, re-enforced by earnings of $1.47 per shares for the full year to March, from a 15 percent increase in revenue. With an 11 percent increase in the first quarter to June this year to $23.4 million even as sales declined due to what the company says to inadequate cement supplies.
According to the offer document, from February 12 and March 11 this year, 659,600 units were traded between $10.99 and $13.56. A total of 834,100 units were traded from March 12 to April 11 at $11.41 to $14.49, thereafter until August 11, the trading range was $13.01 to a high of $23.90 with more than 2 million shares trading. In trading in the early morning session on Thursday 65,035 units were sold down to $13.

Berger Paints traded at a 52 weeks’ high of $23.50 earlier this year.

The offer document states that if the group gets 80 percent or more of issued shares, then they will apply to the Jamaica Stock Exchange to have the shares delisted. That of course is an unlikely development at the current offer price. More than 64 million shares or 30 percent of the issued shares are owned by savvy investors comprising 6 shareholders who are unlikely to accept such a low offer. Any success must have the consent of the majority of these holders.
Local stocks are trading at an average of more than 13 times 2017 earnings and that would place a value of Berger shares at $19 to $22 per share. Going forward, with economic activities picking up, profits should rise even more than at the current levels and would put the value of the stock at a higher level than the above range.

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