Monday, 14 August, 2000, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
The Hyder takeover countdown
The controversial battle for control of Welsh utility Hyder is reaching the final stage, but the four month saga has been far from straight forward.
14 APRIL - Warnings that a Japanese bank is planning to break up Wales' biggest company, Hyder Plc. It is reported that the troubled utility group may be taken over by Tokyo-based Nomura International. Hyder shares had fallen 9p to 256p in the closing price the night before.
18 APRIL - Hyder agrees to a takeover by Nomura for £402m. The 260p-a-share offer is being tabled by St David Capital, a company set up by Nomura International to make the bid.
2 MAY - Hyder says it is "seeking clarification" from Western Power Distribution after it announced plans for a revolutionary takeover bid. WPD said it was considering making an offer for Hyder which would trump the £402m already tabled by Nomura.
31 MAY - Western Power Distribution, the US-owned energy group, posts a £464m takeover bid for Hyder. The 300p-a-share bid trumps a 260p-a-share offer already on the table from Nomura, which had been recommended by Hyder's board.
1 JUNE - There are calls for the Welsh Assembly to block the takeover bid by Western Power. It is feared it will mean water and electricity jobs in Wales being transferred to Bristol and Cheshire. Meanwhile, Nomura - which has ruled out substantial job losses - is expected to increase its bid.
29 JUNE - Hyder advises its shareholders not to accept either of the two bids that have been made to buy the company. It says bids should be rejected until a number of `issues' have been resolved.
7 JULY - The bidding war for control of Hyder resumes after the government's decision not to call in the bid from Western Power. Trade minister Kim Howells rules that the controversial offer should be scrutinised by the European authorities rather than those in the UK.
13 JULY - Hyder results: bottom-line pre-tax profits are hit by exceptional costs of £128.6m, which included costs of cutting the 1,000 jobs Hyder announced last December, following tough regulatory requirements. For the year to March 31, pre-tax profits came in at £76.7m against £206m last year. Turnover on its continuing operations increased to £779.9m, up from £701.8m last time.
19 JULY - The Hyder board considers a plan to break the company up rather than sell it to one of its bidders.
27 JULY - A group led by Nomura unveils a bid to take over the Millennium Dome.
30 JULY - Reports that Nomura is ready to increase its offer for Hyder. It is claimed that the new bid trumps made by rival bidders Western Power.
31 JULY - A financial consortium - known as Glas Cymru - offers to buy Welsh Water from Hyder for around £1.7bn. The new bidders are said to be city of London figures with Welsh connections and they claim to have the backing of Barclays Capital.
1 AUGUST - Nomura increases its takeover offer. Nomura tables an agreed £495m offer for the company and the new bid, which equates to 320p a share, effectively ends plans by Glas Cymru to buy Welsh water from Hyder. The bid is then trumped by a much higher offer of 340p from Western Power.
2 AUGUST - Nomura says it is "considering its options" after its £495m bid for Hyder was trumped by rival suitor Western Power who put in a £526m offer for Hyder in an effort to shake off competition from Nomura. Western Power is also given the green light from Stephen Byers, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, to push on with its bid. Mr Byers said Western Power's arrangement with Warrington-based multi-utility group United Utilities did not constitute a merger and hence there were no grounds for a mandatory referral to the Competition Commission.
7 AUGUST - The board of takeover target Hyder throws its weight behind Western Power's £526m bid for the company. It says its board "unanimously recommends" Western Power's increased bid of 340p to shareholders in the absence of a higher offer. Shares in Hyder fall back 6p to 349p in morning trading on the stock market.
9 AUGUST - Nomura puts in an improved £557m bid for Hyder. The ding-dong battle to win Hyder's hand between Nomura and Western Power has now seen shareholders' stakes almost double in value over the last four and a half months. Before Nomura's first bid back at the end of March, Hyder shares were languishing at 189¼p but today's bid equates to 360p a share.
10 AUGUST - The long battle for control of the Welsh utility company Hyder is to be settled by sealed bids. Rival bidders Nomura International and Western Power submit their final offers to the Takeover Panel.
11 AUGUST - The four month battle for control of the Welsh utility company Hyder is expected to end. The two bidders, the Japanese Bank Nomura and American-owned Western Power are asked to submit their final offers to the Takeover Panel in London. However, Nomura fails to put in a bid deciding to stick with its 360p per share offer. WDP puts in a sealed bid, but after the deadline.
15 AUGUST - The Takeover Panel meets to consider Nomura's appeal against its decision to allow Western Power's bid through after the deadline.
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