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No deal in sight for BOC, Carbacid shareholders

By | February 26th 2009 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By James Anyanzwa

Shareholders of Carbacid Investments and BOC gases are yet to smile more than three years after their shares were suspended from trading at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE).

BOC’s pre-tax profits for the half-year ending on January 31, jumped 40 per cent to Sh152 million from 108 million shillings previously, attributing the improvement to a 43 per cent rise in sales.

It is emerging that their complaints, which were fuelled by lost opportunities during the stock market’s peak periods (2006-2007), could stretch a bit longer than expected.

Protracted legal battles between the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and its tribunal over the merger proposal have scuttled the anticipated speedy resolution to the dispute.

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Attempts to have the matter settled off the courts have, however, remained elusive with the two companies differing on common grounds.

"The discussion we have had with them had touched, of course, on settling the matter out of court," said John Kariuki, BOC Managing Director yesterday. "The parties involved have had various discussions for a way forward but no conclusive decisions have been made as yet. The company is however anxious to have the matter resolved speedily."

Carbacid, the carbon dioxide gas producer however blames BOC for refusing to consider the Offer has lapsed (failed) and to make a fresh one. "The Board of the company considers that it is unreasonable for the shares of two listed companies with thousands of shareholders in a securities exchange of the size of the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) to remain suspended for over thirty eight months because of a dispute between one party to a merger or takeover and the regulator," Carbacid said in a statement.

Shares in Carbacid, and BOC Gases were suspended from the Nairobi bourse since December 5, 2005 after the regulator, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), ruled against the takeover deal.

Liquid investment

"The commercial rationale that the parties had at the time of entry into the transaction has been eroded, 38 months later, especially in the context of a capital markets transaction where dealings in shares constitute a relatively liquid investment and where prices of shares can vary considerably," says the board.

Carbacid has continued to request CMA in the interest of the majority of the shareholders of both companies to authorise the immediate lifting from the suspension.

"The Board has assessed that there has been a material change in the underlying relative performance of both the companies," it said.