Minerva hits back at rebel shareholder

PROPERTY FIRM Minerva yesterday published a hard-hitting rebuttal to South African entrepreneur Nathan Kirsh&rsquo;s &pound;84.5m takeover bid, urging its shareholders to reject the &ldquo;woeful&rdquo; offer.<br /><br />Minerva chief executive Salmaan Hasan said the timing of the 50p per share bid from Kirsh&rsquo;s&nbsp; vehicle KiFin, launched on 17 November was &ldquo;opportunistic&rdquo; and a &ldquo;wholly inadequate&rdquo; attempt to seize control at the expense of other investors after a long fight to keep Minerva afloat.<br /><br />Kirsh already owns 29.94 per cent of the London office developer.<br /><br />Defending the company, Hasan yesterday said Minerva&rsquo;s property portfolio had been revalued by&nbsp; property consultant CBRE at around &pound;1bn, up by &pound;93m since the end of June.<br /><br />This brings its net asset value (NAV) to&nbsp; 95p a share &ndash; 89 per cent above KiFin&rsquo;s offer of 50p a share.<br /><br />Minerva, which is advised by boutique firm Greenhill, also said that there was long term potential in the group&rsquo;s recovery and that it had two of the most desired City buildings in one of the most constricted markets. <br /><br />Minerva&rsquo;s two landmark City&nbsp; developments &ndash; The Walbrook and St Botolphs &ndash; represent half the total office development pipeline set to complete in the financial district by the end of 2010.<br /><br />Hasan said: &ldquo;The Walbrook is the only new vacant office of over 300,000 sq ft which will be ready by 2010.&rdquo; Minerva is yet to find a tenant for the office developments but said it was in early talks with a number of interested buyers. <br /><br />Minerva said shareholders who accepted Kirsh&rsquo;s offer would be &ldquo;surrendering the upside potential&rdquo; of Minerva just as the recovery gathered pace.<br /><br />Kirsh was unavailable for comment.