Oberthur walks away from De La Rue bid

 
City A.M. Reporter
FRANCE'S Oberthur Technologies has walked away from a bid for De La Rue after a higher indicative offer failed to engage the banknote printer's board in talks.

Oberthur said it had increased its indicative bid to 935p per share from 905p, with the objective of receiving a recommendation from De La Rue.

But the British firm, which has had problems in its key Indian market, earlier said it had rejected the improved cash proposal, saying it still significantly undervalued the group.

"We have repeatedly sought to enter into constructive discussions with the board of De La Rue over the last four months and we believe our approach could have offered a much needed catalyst to restore De La Rue's reputation," Oberthur President Jean-Pierre Savare said.

"The board of De La Rue has not only rejected our approach but has also ignored requests for clarity to be given to the market in relation to fundamental questions about the company's customer relationships and financial prospects."

De La Rue's shares plunged 15 per cent to close at 695p after Oberthur Technologies said it would not make another bid.

De La Rue chairman Nicholas Brookes said: "The board has carefully considered Oberthur's revised proposal and believes that it continues to significantly undervalue the company and its prospects ... The board therefore unanimously rejected this latest approach."

Evolution Securities analyst Adrian Kearsey had said the increased offer was an improvement but he thought the final price would need to be over £10 to get a recommendation.

An offer of 935p would have valued the group at around £925m.