Japanese attempt to break glass deadlock

Japanese industrials firm Nippon Sheet Glass will this week seek fresh talks with Pilkington aimed at breaking the deadlock over a proposed £2 billion takeover of the 180-year-old British glassmaker.

Nippon executives are keen to secure a recommendation from the Pilkington board, chaired by Sir Nigel Rudd, but they are reluctant to raise their offer as high as the 160p level reported in recent weeks. A 150p-a-share offer was rejected by Pilkington last month.

The Pilkington board is determined to hold out for a materially higher proposal from its smaller rival and 20% shareholder. If one is not forthcoming, the board will push to ensure the company’s continued independence.

Pilkington, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of car windscreens, was founded in 1826 as the St Helens Crown Glass Company. Both William Pilkington and his older brother, Richard, were among the company’s earliest shareholders.

Shares in Pilkington closed unchanged on the week at 150¼p, valuing the company at £1.98 billion.

The situation at Pilkington is one of three takeover situations in which Rudd finds himself embroiled.

As well as being chairman of Boots, which is engineering a £7 billion merger with Alliance Unichem, Rudd also chairs Reg Vardy, the car dealership that last week agreed a £450m takeover by rival Pendragon.

However, Lookers, the firms’ smaller quoted rival, is continuing to explore options for raising a debt package to fund a counterbid for Reg Vardy. A rival offer could be tabled as early as this week.

600450 Japanese attempt to break glass deadlock glassonweb.com
Date: 12 December 2005
Source: Timesonline.co.uk

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