China Fishery nets deal with big shareholders of Peruvian takeover target

CHINA Fishery Group has bolstered its takeover bid for Peruvian firm Copeinca by striking a deal with the company's second biggest shareholder.

Ocean Harvest has agreed to sell a 9.9 per cent stake in Copeinca to China Fishery for US$54.8 million (S$67.9 million). It has also pre-accepted a cash offer for a further 4 per cent.

Singapore-listed China Fishery said in a statement on Wednesday the Ocean Harvest deal was a "further strong endorsement" of the cash takeover offer.

China Fishery also has binding commitments of about 29 per cent of Copeinca shares and indicative positive support of 2.6 per cent.

This means it has already secured about 41.5 per cent of the company, which is Peru's second biggest fish exporter, before the cash offer period has begun. It needs at least 50.01 per cent for the US$556 million cash offer to go through.

The bid, described as hostile and rejected by Copeinca soon after it was lodged on Feb 26, may now have a good chance of succeeding.

Oslo-listed Copeinca, which has a secondary listing in Peru, has since appointed UBS, DNB Markets and Carnegie to advise on its options and to "explore alternatives".

No other suitor has emerged to take the bait so far.

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