June 24, 2020 / 4:33 PM / 7 days ago

UPDATE 2-South Africa's Sun City owner gets Chilean offer for 50.1% stake

* Proposed offer price of 22 rand a share

* Buyer to provide bridge loan of 1.2 bln rand

* To underwrite 50.1% of Sun’s rights issue

* Sun International shares surge 22% (Adds quote, details about buyer, Sun’s shareholder opposing deal)

By Nqobile Dludla

JOHANNESBURG, June 24 (Reuters) - Sun International , the owner of South Africa’s Sun City resort, has received an offer for a 50.1% stake in the hotel and casino operator from Chilean investment firm Nueva Inversiones Pacifico Sur (IPS), lifting its shares by 22%.

IPS’ 22 rand ($1.27) a share offer comes as Sun plans to raise 1.2 billion rand through a rights issue to boost liquidity and strengthen its balance sheet after the coronavirus lockdown.

Chile’s IPS said in a statement on Wednesday that its proposed part-cash offer also includes a bridge loan of up to 1.2 billion rand to Sun International, which is preparing to reopen its resorts after the lockdown.

It said the offer, which values the stake at 1.5 billion rand, represented a premium of 44.26% to Sun’s June 22 closing share price of 15.25 rand.

Shares in Sun International jumped 22.13% to 18.10 rand after the offer was announced.

Sun International was not immediately available for comment.

IPS, which already owns about 35% of Sun Dreams S.A, the Latin American subsidiary of Sun International, said the proposed offer would provide Sun International shareholders with an attractive alternative to the proposed rights issue, which it also intends to support and underwrite at least 50.1% of.

“We believe Sun International has an attractive portfolio of properties in Africa and Latin America which need to be protected against the devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” IPS Co-founder and Chairman, Claudio Fischer said in a statement.

Value Capital Partners (VCP), the second largest shareholder in Sun International, with a 20.23% stake, opposed the offer, with CEO Sam Sithole saying it “significantly” undervalues the firm.

“VCP..do not believe a sale of the business at artificially depressed prices is in the interest of existing shareholders,” he said. ($1 = 17.3083 rand) (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Alexander Smith, Kirsten Donovan)

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