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Argentine Tycoon Elsztain in Takeover Battle for British Falkland Islands Conglomerate

Argentine Tycoon Elsztain in Takeover Battle for British Falkland Islands Conglomerate

FIH is quoted on London’s AIM Alternative Investment Market and incorporated in the United Kingdom, with operations in the Falkland Islands and the UK. Its business activities in the Falklands are conducted by the Falkland Islands Company (FIC), established by Royal Charter in 1852. FIC’s activities include retailing, property, insurance, hotels, shipping and fishing agency services. It is the largest retailer in Falklands with a 60% market share. FIC owns nearly 400 acres of land, with the potential for residential or commercial development. The company also owns 40 residential properties which are available to rent to individuals or business users such as Oil Services companies, Ministry of Defence contractors, and fishing companies. In the UK the group operates a long established passenger ferry service across the mouth of Portsmouth harbour, Portsmouth Harbour Ferry Company (PHFC). In 2008 the group acquired MOMART, a London-based market leader in the handling and storage of fine art and antiquities. Dolphin, which controls a 2.54 percent stake in FIH, said it has written to the board of FIH to request information to enable it to evaluate making a cash buyout offer, at a significant premium to a takeover bid by Staunton Holdings Limited of 300 pence per share, reflecting a total price of £37 million. Staunton’s current bid represents a premium of approximately 27.39 percent to the closing price of 235.5 pence on February 9, 2017, the day prior to its offer. Edmund Rowland, the executive chairman of FIH, is the son of controversial British Conservative Party donor David Rowland. Guernsey, Channel Islands-based Staunton is controlled by the family’s Rowland Purpose Trust 2001. On Friday, March 17, FIH shares closed down 1.53% at 322.50 pence, bringing its total market capitalization to roughly £40 million. Dolphin is said to be seeking to engage in a friendly buyout, with London-based stockbroker Arden Partners plc acting as its financial adviser. However, Staunton and its Blackfish Capital Management affiliate, which together own a 25 percent stake in FIH and are its largest shareholder, said that “it has not entered, and does not wish to enter, into any dialogue with Dolphin in relation to a possible offer.” In addition, Staunton lowered the acceptance condition of its offer from a minimum of 90 percent of FIH shareholders’ approval, to 50 percent. FIH operations in the Falkland Islands date back more than 160 years, when the Falkland Islands Company was granted its Royal Charter. From its early days as a major landowner and sheep farmer, controlling almost half the land area of the islands, the company has steadily widened its activities to provide a broad range of essential services. The company’s main areas of activity embrace retailing (including food, clothing, electrical goods, home furnishings, gifts and DIY), residential and commercial property, the sale and hire of 4×4 vehicles, travel services including flight bookings, airport transfers and luxury coach and walking tours for tourists, insurance, agency services for cruise ships and fishing vessels, and the provision of freight and shipping services to and from the Islands. Dolphin’s Elsztain, who stands atop one of the largest business empires in Latin America, is chairman of Argentina´s largest real estate company IRSA Inversiones y Representaciones SA (ADR)(NYSE: IRS); Argentina´s largest shopping mall owner and developer IRSA Propiedades Comerciales SA (formerly Alto Palermo SA) (NASDAQ: IRCP); Argentina’s leading public-private mortgage bank Banco Hipotecario SA (BCBA: BHIP); leading agri-business company CRESUD (NASDAQ: CRESY); BrasilAgro Sp (ADR)(NYSE: LND; SAO: AGRO3); BACS Banco de Crédito & Securitización SA; and Austral Gold (ASX: AGD) an Australian precious metals mining and exploration company with a portfolio of assets in South America, among others. In addition, Elsztain is the chairman of IDB Group, one of Israel’s preeminent business groups, holding leading corporations in key business sectors alongside an ever-growing, global presence through diverse portfolio companies and joint ventures. Photo: Eduardo Elsztain, Chairman of IRSA, CRESUD, BrasilAgro, Banco Hipotecario and IDB Group.]]>