4 Mar 2011

New bidder voices interest in PGG Wrightson

9:46 am on 4 March 2011

PGG Wrightson says it has not received a formal takeover offer from Hong-Kong based company Zuellig and does not know what the firm's intentions are.

There is already a partial takeover offer on the table for PGG Wrightson from its largest shareholder, Agria, which is seeking 50% control - a bid that has the support of the rural services company's directors.

But Zuellig Group, which has a large shareholding in Pharmacybrands and a small stake in Ebos Group, and owns the tractor and machinery distributor CB Norwood, says it is now considering investing in PGG Wrightson.

PGG Wrightson on Thursday told shareholders that no meeting to discuss the nature of Zuellig's interest has been held and it has not received any notification that it intends to lodge a formal takeover offer.

PGG Wrightson says it will update the market if circumstances change.

Zuellig senior group executive Peter Williams says the company is looking at a number of options, including a strong cornerstone shareholding.

He says it would not wish to invest if Agria controlled the company, but has no objection to Agria remaining a significant shareholder.

Mr Williams says he will meet PGG Wrightson executives on Friday.

Milford Asset Management executive director Brian Gaynor says Agria's bid is likely to go ahead.

He says Zuellig seems to have left its offer a little too late, and if it is serious it needs to put on the table the price it is prepared to pay for shares.

Mr Gaynor says the price will determine whether the bid is likely to have any success or not.

Shares in PGG Wrightson are unchanged at 51 cents on Thursday.

Agria's offer for 50% control of PGG Wrightson closes on 15 April.