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 user 2010-02-15 at 9:47:34 am Views: 76
  • #23446

     AMSTERDAM –Oce NV’s  chief executive Friday urged shareholders to accept Canon Inc.’s  takeover offer, saying it is “fair and reasonable.”Japanese technology company Canon offered EUR8.60 a share for the Dutch printer manufacturer in November, in a deal which values Oce at EUR703 million. Canon currently holds a stake of around 28% in Oce.Some Oce shareholders including Hermes Asset Management, which has a 3.3% stake; Orbis AG (OBS.XE), which holds around 10% and Sparinvest, which has a stake of around 5% have opposed the offer, saying it substantially undervalues the Dutch company.Speaking at a shareholders’ meeting, Van Iperen said there is “no alternative” to Canon’s offer, and urged shareholders to approve it.Canon will declare its offer unconditional if more than 85% of the shares are tendered.

    Oce shareholders have until March 1 to offer their shares.
    At the meeting, shareholders approved four new supervisory board members, of whom three are Canon executives. The changes to the supervisory board will only come into effect when the Canon offer becomes unconditional.

    Canon Says It Will Stick to Oce Offer, Defying Funds
    Feb. 2010 — Canon Inc. said it will stick to its $1 billion offer to buy Dutch printer maker Oce NV, rejecting calls by shareholders including Hermes Fund Managers Ltd. and Orbis Funds to raise the bid.The offer of 8.60 euros ($11.83) a share for Oce “is reasonable,” Masaki Nakaoka, chief executive of Canon’s office- imaging products operations, said in an interview in Tokyo yesterday.Canon said two weeks ago it may settle for less than the 85 percent stake originally sought, limiting the ability of Hermes and Orbis to force a higher price. The 70 percent premium Canon’s offering may be sufficient to attract a majority of Oce shareholders who’ll discuss it at a meeting on Feb. 12.“The fact that Canon repeats it will stick to its offer and can lower the acceptance threshold increases the chance that investors will feel obliged to offer their shares,” said Maarten Altena, an Amsterdam-based analyst at SNS Securities, who has a “hold” recommendation on Oce.“The questions on governance raised by Hermes are relevant, and I haven’t seen them answered yet. This will be a topic of discussion on Feb. 12.”

    Canon, the world’s largest maker of office equipment, first publicly disclosed it may waive its minimum target to buy 85 percent of Oce shares on Jan. 28, two months after the Japanese company announced its acquisition plans.Venlo, Netherlands-based Oce, Canon’s third acquisition target in the past three months, fell 0.1 percent to 8.679 euros at 10:51 a.m. in Amsterdam trading. Canon’s offer on Nov. 16 was 70 percent higher than the stock’s previous closing price.

    Hermes, Orbis
    Hermes, the asset manager owned by BT Group Plc’s pension fund, has said since January it doesn’t plan to sell its 3.3 percent holding to Canon because the Japanese company’s bid is a “meager representation” of Oce’s value. Hermes joined Orbis Funds, owner of about 10 percent of Oce, in opposing the bid.The company said this week it will make Canon Finetech Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary for 23.9 billion yen ($266 million) in May. The company also offered to buy Optopol SA, a Polish maker of diagnostic equipment for eye doctors, for 248 million zloty ($84 million) in December.Canon may seek more acquisitions to boost sales in Europe and the U.S., Nakaoka said. “Information technology is an area that we can’t operate by ourselves,” he said. Increased competition and economic downturns are part of the reason for Canon to speed up acquisitions, he said.

    Minority Shareholders
    Sparinvest Holding A/S, won’t sell its stake of about 5 percent, Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad said last month, without saying where it got the information. Dutch investor group VEB, which represented 211 shareholders with about 0.003 percent of Oce at its last shareholders’ meeting, has also said it considers the bid too low.The company aims to take advantage of its financial strength to speed up management decisions and win a bigger share of the office-equipment market, Canon said Feb. 8.Canon rose 0.7 percent to close at 3,540 yen in Tokyo trading today. The stock has lost 9.5 percent this year compared with a 5.5 percent decline by the Nikkei 225 Stock Average.

    As revenue growth in the U.S., Europe and Japan will probably remain small in coming years, businesses in China, India and Vietnam will likely drive the company’s growth in printer operations, Nakaoka said.Sales in Asia may account for 30 percent of Canon’s overall revenue within three years, he said. That’s as much as Canon’s business in Europe last year, which generated 31 percent of revenue, the largest proportion.

    The company is projecting its biggest annual profit increase in a decade this year as the global economic recovery revives demand for printers and copiers. Sales at the office- equipment division, the company’s biggest with 51 percent of its 2009 revenue, are projected to rise 7 percent to 1.76 trillion yen in 2010, Canon said Jan. 27.