Now that Belgian postal company Bpost made its ‘final’ €2.5 bnbid for Dutch counterpart PostNL, pressure is building on the Dutch company’s chairman Michiel Boersma to reach a decision, the Financieele Dagblad said on Friday.
Three large shareholders representing more than 15% of the shares are insisting that The Hague-based post and packages concern listen to what Bpost chief Koen van Gerven has to say, the paper said.
The Dutch government, however, is taking the opposite approach. The government is reiterating its stance against a Bpost takeover on the grounds that the Belgian government has a major stake in the company. On Thusday a majority in parliament said the poison pill construction already in place should be used so that PostNL can not be taken over.
Frank Botman of Dasym, the investment vehicle of media magnate John de Mol, which holds a 5% stake in PostNL says he is shocked by the Dutch government’s interference in the move.
‘Politicans have already cost investors €0.75 a share in profit. Look at Bpost’s latest bid, three-quarters of it deals with governance in a attempt to eliminate these political concerns,’ he told the FD.
Belgian capital management fund Capfi Delen Asset Management, which holds a 4.5% stake in PostNL is also keen to see negotiations start.
‘It’s evident to us that on the basis of this latest bid PostNL should be sitting at the table to iron out the details,’ fund manager Paul de Meyer told the Financieele Dagblad. He says the latest bid is a ‘clear improvement in every way’: is is higher, a larger portion is in cash and Bpost is coming around to the Dutch position on corporate governance.
Dutch economic affairs minister Henk Kamp on Thursday refrained from discussing the content of the bid before PostNL itself did. ‘It is basically up to the company and its shareholders,’ he said.
Kamp did not repeat his earlier statement that a takeover would be ‘a step backward’.
Another complication is that PostNL itself might be eyeing a takeover of its new Dutch rival Sandd, the FD said. The Apeldoorn-based start-up already has a 20% market share largely in packages. Analysts say a Sandd takeover could produce up to €60m in annual synergy savings.
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