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Chempro's Henry in box seat for Hydromet takeover after winning directors´┐Ż' backing

Tuesday 8th May 2012

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Chempro Logistics director Simon Henry is in the box seat to take over ASX-listed Hydromet after his bid won him 41 percent of the company, prompting the industrial waste recycler's board to give him the thumbs-up.

Hydromet's directors, whom Henry claimed attracted big fees while shareholder returns languished, are backing the 4.8 Australian cents per share bid, and will sell their 5.8 percent stake to him.

That will take Henry's holding up to 47 percent. The turnabout comes after shareholder Sell & Parker agreed to sell its 12.8 percent stake to Henry. "The directors of the company have each formed the view that they recommend that shareholders accept Mr Henry's offer on the basis that no higher offer has materialised," the board said in a statement to the ASX yesterday.

"Mr Henry's offer appears reasonable" and the board and their associates "do not wish to remain minority shareholders in the company." Henry launched his A$24 million offer last month, and stuck to his original bid after winning acceptances that took his stake to a quarter of the company.

Earlier this year, Hydromet won a A$1.32 million grant from the Australian Federal and New South Wales state governments to help pay for a small-scale lead smelting furnace in Illawarra. The plant would be used to recover and produce lead bullion from lead oxide paste from the company’s used lead battery operation and other waste streams such as CRT glass.

The Auckland-based businessman, who made his name in property development, has no minimum acceptance condition, and will seek to review the company’s operations, management and governance. If he achieves 90 percent acceptances, enough to force a mandatory takeover, he will de-list the company, and may reorganise its assets with other companies he controls.

That could see the Hydromet assets merged with Henry’s Chempro Logistics. Chempro is in the process of installing a used lead acid battery recycling plant in Wellington. It’s recently moved into chemicals trading, opening a procurement office in China. Hydromet shares were unchanged at 4.8 Australian cents on the ASX yesterday, valuing the company at A$28.8 million.

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