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Sumida pulls out of Saia-Burgess race

Saia-Burgess viewed Johnson Electric's bid as a friendly offer

(swissinfo.ch)

Sumida of Japan has decided not to make a new offer for Saia-Burgess before today's deadline, and will sell its entire 29.4 per cent stake in the company.

The move clears the way for the Swiss electronic-parts manufacturer to be taken over by Johnson Electric of Hong Kong, the buyer of Sumida's stake.

Sumida launched a SFr950 ($733) per share bid for Saia-Burgess in July, which was seen as hostile by Saia and not reflecting the true value of the company.

A month later Hong Kong's Johnson Electric made a friendly offer of SFr1,060 per share, valuing the company at SFr696 million. Sumida had until today to up its offer.

A Sumida spokesman said its original offer price was fair value and paying a higher premium to beat Johnson Electric's offer would not be justifiable. "We have decided to seek other measures to help our growth, including other mergers and acquisitions," the spokesman told news agencies.

In a statement, Sumida said that Johnson Electric had agreed to buy its Saia shares, offered for sale on Wednesday. The transaction will net Sumida SFr20 million, on the basis of the difference between the two offers.

Business partner

Saia-Burgess, which is based in Murten in western Switzerland, has described Johnson Electric as a long-standing business partner. It treated Johnson's bid as friendly from the beginning and urged shareholders to accept the offer.

At the time of its offer, Johnson said it wanted to retain the existing Saia management, while adding two members of its own to the present board of directors.

Johnson Electric is a large provider of micro motors and integrated motor systems in the automotive, power tools, home appliances, business equipment, audio-visual and personal-care sectors.

The group employs more than 33,000 people in 15 countries and recorded sales of $1.144 billion in its fiscal year ending March 31.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

In July, the Japanese group, Sumida, offered SFr950 per share to acquire Saia-Burgess.

One month later, Johnson Electric of Hong Kong put forward a counter-offer of SFr1,060 per share.

Management of the Swiss company said from the beginning that it considered Sumida's offer to be hostile.

The board of Saia-Burgess unanimously approved Johnson Electric's offer, their long-term business partner.

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Key facts

Saia-Burgess was established in Bern in 1920.
Last year, the company posted net profit of SFr26.3 million on sales of SFr568.4 million.
Saia-Burgess employed 3,630 people at the end of last year. About 600 staff are employed in Murten.
The company's initial public offering (IPO) on the SWX Swiss Exchange was launched in 1998.

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