Stinking Berger behaviour

There are some strange and shocking developments regarding the offer by Ansa Coatings International to purchase the minority shares in Berger Paints Jamaica.
First the directors in recommending that shareholders accept the offer made critical claims that are not back up by facts and they offer no information to support same. Secondly, the shares have been suspended in questionable manner and without adequate reasons.
The directors in recommending that shareholders accept the offer said,” in your directors view, it is highly likely that acceptance of the offer will take the aggregate holdings of ACI beyond 80 percent. Under the rules of the Jamaica Stock Exchange, where one shareholder either individually or collectively with concert parties holds more than 80 percent of the listed shares of a company, the stock exchange has the right to de-list such company. In fact the offeror has made it clear its intention to delist the Berger Shares.” The directors’ recommendation goes on to quote ACI statement that they will seek delisting if they acquire an additional 29 percent of the shares. “It is therefore clear that Berger Jamaica shares will in all probability be delisted from the JSE,” the directors’ statement concluded.
According to the directors, Ansa Coatings International controls 51.01 percent of the issued Berger Jamaica’s shares and as a result of this Offer, its holding will most likely exceed 75 percent.
It seems that for the recommendation to shareholders to be substantially based on the “highly likely that acceptance” taking the holdings of ACI beyond 80 percent and most likely exceed 75 percent, is highly flawed. Where did the directors get that information from and why did they not disclose the source in the recommendation. Why they did not think it appropriate to disclose the interim results figures up to August in the report?
At $10.88 per share, Berger is priced at 5 times the current years’ earnings against more than 13 for the main market, on what basis could it be regarded as a fair price?
The situation gets more curious and raises a huge question, is someone is trying to manipulate shareholders in giving away their shares at less than a fair price? That is the only conclusion to be arrived at, when without notice, the shares of Berger were without notice, suspended by the Jamaica Stock Exchange on Thursday, October 5, 2017 and is to remain suspended to Friday, October 13, 2017. According to a release late on Thursday, “this is to facilitate the processing of the transaction in respect to shareholders of the Company who have agreed to sell their shares to Asna Coating, as a part of their Takeover Bid of Berger.” That of course is a load of crap. Trading shares of Desnoes and Geddes a much bigger company was never suspended when Heineken acquired the minority shares in 2016, Hardware and Lumber shares were never suspended either, nor was Scotia Investments’ in Scotia Group’s recent acquisition of the minority shares. Why is there a need to prevent Berger shareholders who want to trade the shares if they so desire? Worse why is there need to suspend it beyond Monday?
The capital market cannot prosper as well as it should if the above abuses continue to take place without corrective action being taken. The Jamaica Stock Exchange and the Financial Services Commission should have intervened when the directors’ recommendation included information that was not backed up by facts and should have intervened and prevented the unwarranted suspension of trading in the company’s shares.

About IC