Italy's Eurotech has been rebuffed in its latest bid to buy Midlands computer systems maker Radstone Technology - as the battle for control of the company hots up.
Eurotech yesterday made an offer - rejected by Radstone's board - of 360p a share for a total of #109 million in what was its third attempt to land the Northamptonshire business. That came as Eurotech said it had purchased #4.82 million of Radstone Technology shares, or 15.9 per cent of its capital. After these purchases, and including commitments from other Radstone shareholders, Eurotech said it currently controls 31.8 per cent of the company.
Towcester-based Radstone, which makes computer systems for the defence and aerospace industry, said its board "unanimously concluded" that Eurotech's latest offer "significantly undervalued" the company.
Earlier this month Rad-stone rejected two approaches from Eurotech, including an indicative offer of not less than 350 pence per share.
And yesterday, after the 360p a share offer, the Rad-stone board urged shareholders to take no further action and said it was "fully committed to explore all options in order to maximise shareholder value".
Analysts reckon Radstone could see a counter bid of more than 400p. A spokesman for the Italian computer firm said of its latest bid: "Following positive conversations with a good number of Radstone primary shareholders Eurotech decided to make a public offer."
The latest offer is 41 per cent higher than Radstone's closing price on August 10, the day before Eurotech announced its first bid.
Radstone posted sales of #54.9 million and a pretax profit of #5.6 million for its financial year that ended on March 31. The company said in its statement in June that profits had tumbled 44 per cent - but it ended the year with a strong order book and a number of new products.
Adjusted earnings per share slipped to 14.6 pence from 20.5p. However, sales rose ten per cent, from #49.9 million to #54.9 million, and Radstone recommended a final dividend of 3.15p per share, raising the total dividend for the year by 17 per cent to 4.2p.
Radstone said its order book ended the year at #94.1 million, up nine per cent on last time after recovering from earlier delayed and cancelled orders.
At the time chief executive Jeff Perrin said: "We have ended the financial year with a strong order book and have spent significant time and resources on our product development. Our efforts ensure we remain at the fore-front of the military embedded computing market and we are confident that this will continue to provide a solid base for Radstone's future growth and strategic development."