Lam Soon buys more Viz Branz shares at 79 cents apiece to raise its stake to 20.3%

MALAYSIAN-BASED Lam Soon Cannery has continued to raise its stake in Viz Branz despite an iron-clad takeover bid by Viz Branz managing director Ben Chng Beng Beng.

Mr Chng is making an unconditional general offer for all the remaining shares of Viz Branz at 78 cents apiece after acquiring his father Chng Khoon Peng's 38.3 per cent stake to take his holding in the company to 58.1 per cent.

In a disclosure dated July 19, Lam Soon Cannery said it bought 260,000 Viz Branz shares at 79 cents each, to raise its stake to 20.3 per cent.

Market watchers say it makes no sense for Lam Soon to raise its stake for a significant minority stake in a company that could soon be taken private, unless there is some form of cooperation between Lam Soon and Viz Branz.

This is unlikely, however, because any cooperation would imply the parties are working in concert. Under the takeover code, parties acting in concert are barred from acquiring shares at different prices during the general offer period.