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CapitaLand raises Ascott stake to 91.7%

CAPITALAND is on track to delist its serviced apartment unit, The Ascott Group, after lifting its stake in the firm to 91.7 per cent.

The property giant said yesterday that once its offer expires next Tuesday, Ascott shares ‘may be suspended’ by the Singapore Exchange.

CapitaLand has stated its aim of delisting Ascott. It has said it ‘will not take any action for such trading suspension to be lifted’.

Under listing regulations, the shares of companies with less than 10 per cent of freely available shares may be suspended.

In a surprise announcement last month, CapitaLand made an offer of $1.73 per share for Ascott shares held by minority shareholders. CapitaLand, which already held 66.5 per cent of Ascott’s shares then, added that it did not intend to revise its offer, which represented a 43 per cent premium over Ascott’s then-last traded price of $1.21.

The price was a massive 145 per cent premium over Ascott’s book value of 70.6 cents, and about 17 times Ascott’s earnings in the 2007 financial year.

Just last week, independent financial advisers recommended that Ascott’s minority shareholders either take CapitaLand’s offer or try to sell the shares on the open market before the offer closed.

Ascott is the biggest operator of serviced apartments in Asia and Europe.

Source: The Straits Times 22 Feb 08


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