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BBC Wales's business correspondent Miles Fletcher
"This should not be allowed to deteriorate into a merry-go-round"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 2 August, 2000, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Hyder shareholders told 'wait and see'

Welsh utility Hyder Plc has told its shareholders they should take no action for now over rival offers from Japanese bank Nomura and Western Power.

Nomura earlier said it was "considering its position" before tabling a higher bid for the Welsh utility group Hyder.

Meanwhile, Assembly First Secretary Rhodri Morgan has called for a swift end to the takeover saga to give Hyder's workers peace of mind.

Mr Morgan said Hyder's 10,000 workers "desperately" wanted to know how the three-month long takeover battle would end.

"This should not be allowed to deteriorate into a merry-go-round," he said.

Nomura's latest offer of 3.20 a share was trumped by American-owned Western Power, which has offered 3.40.

Nomura is thought to awaiting a decision by the government on whether to refer Western's bid to the Competition Commission before raising its offer again.

But WPD's plans for the Welsh Water arm of Hyder are strongly opposed by the trade unions and the National Assembly.

They want to hand over management control of the water division to Cheshire-based United utilities.

No other water company has entered into such an arrangement - and the authorities have the power to block it.

Welsh Water
Sale of Welsh Water would clear Hyder's debts
A decision from the department of trade on whether to launch an investigation is expected later this week.

Western Power Distribution responded to Nomura's improved offer on Tuesday by offering 340 pence a share, valuing the company at 526m ($790m).

Hyder's directors had unanimously backed the latest Nomura offer, with the Japanese company the favourites of Hyder's top executives to take over the ailing water and electricity group.

But their original offer of 2.60 was trumped by a higher bid from American-owned Western Power.

Now it also faces competition from Glas Cymru - a new company attempting to buy Welsh Water from Hyder for 1.7bn.

That is being led by two Welsh Water executives Nigel Annett and Chris Jones.

Nomura believed it had regained the initiative with its latest offer.

But that is bad news for Glas Cymru which needed the directors support if it was to succeed.

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See also:

07 Jul 00 | Wales
Snub leads to Hyder job fears
13 Jul 00 | Business
Hyder holds back dividend
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