17 Mar 2011

Renewed warning over unsolicited share offers

11:55 am on 17 March 2011

The Securities Commission has renewed its warning to investors to be wary of any unsolicited share offers from companies associated with Christchurch man Bernard Whimp.

The commission says it is aware of offers being made for shares and that Mr Whimp has made requests for copies of the share registers of a significant number of New Zealand companies.

Mr Whimp caused a furore when he launched raids on firms including Vector, Telecom and Fletcher, undervaluing the shares by up to two thirds in some cases.

The latest offers linked to Mr Whimp include one for shares in DNZ Property Fund - but this time at a 35% premium on the current price.

An offer has also been made for TrustPower shares.

The Securities Commission says the offers appear at first sight to be above the market value, but payment would be in yearly instalments that could take ten years.

It says this means the offers are worth significantly less than it may seem and could mean the investor will never receive full payment.

Meanwhile, Abano Healthcare says Mr Whimp has asked for a copy of its share register, but it has not given him one and is seeking legal advice on its options to protect investors.

The Warehouse says Mr Whimp has also asked for a copy of its share register.

The commission says it suspects the requests for registers mean a large number of investors may soon receive unexpected offers for their shares.

It says while the move is not illegal, it is against the law to mislead or deceive investors into accepting an offer.

The commission strongly recommends people receiving an unexpected letter get financial advice, so they fully understand the offer.