June 19, 2020 / 3:09 PM / 2 months ago

Campari shares rise as investor pushes for drinks group's move to Netherlands

MILAN (Reuters) - Shares in Campari (CPRI.MI) rose 2% on Friday after the drinks maker’s controlling investor pledged to buy shares ahead of a vote next week on the group’s plan to shift its registered office from Italy to the Netherlands.

FILE PHOTO: Campari bottles are seen in a bar downtown Milan, Italy, September 4, 2018. Picture taken September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

As part of the change of domicile plan, shareholders who oppose it have the right to exercise withdrawal rights.

Controlling investor Lagfin, which supports the change in domicile, said in a statement late on Wednesday that it was willing to buy up to 38 million more shares from shareholders who oppose the move, at a price of 8 euros each for a total of 304 million euros ($341 million).

The transaction was due to end Friday at 1600 GMT and Campari shares were up 2% at 7.80 euros by 1443 GMT.

Lagfin’s pledge to buy additional shares is expected to reduce the cost for the group to liquidate withdrawn shares and increase the chances that the redomiciliation is approved at next week’s shareholders’ meeting, Berstein analysts said in a comment.

The Aperol maker announced in February that it planned to move its registered office to the Netherlands and introduce an enhanced loyalty share scheme, in a move aimed at increasing M&A opportunities.

Shareholders approved the plan at a meeting in March, subject to several conditions. They are due to vote again on the move on June 26.

Lagfin already committed in February to spend 76.5 million euros to buy withdrawn shares at the withdrawal price of 8.376 euros each and support the group, which said it would reject the redomiciliation if the cost to liquidate withdrawn shares was too high.

Campari plans to set up a registered office in the Netherlands but keep its headquarters in Milan and its listing on the Milan bourse.

($1 = 0.8904 euros)

Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Susan Fenton

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