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Submarines Australasia strikes takeovers code snag


Tuesday 26th November 2002

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The Takeovers Panel believes Submarines Australasia Ltd (SAL) may have breached takeover rules and will meet tomorrow to consider whether to exercise its powers.

Submarines Australasia plans to hold a shareholder meeting on Friday and recently notified shareholders of both the meeting and a proposed 49 percent purchase of the company's shares by International Marine Services Ltd (IMSL).

The allotment of 10 million SAL shares at 5c each has caught the attention of the Takeovers Panel because the notice of meeting did not include a statement as to whether there was any agreement between IMSL and any other person about the allotment, or about the exercise of the voting rights.

"Any subsequent allotment of shares by SAL to IMSL could therefore be made on the basis of a notice of meeting which may not comply with the (takeovers) code," the panel said today.

Company chairman Paul Winter said International Marine's $500,000 offer was backed by the board of directors and an agreement had been signed, subject to shareholder approval.

SAL has logged $4.3 million in losses in the past two years after it pulled its submarine venture out of Milford Sound in April.

The submarine had not worked since, and both it and the purpose-built barge have been for sale for $2.8 million.

At least $4.5 million has been raised in venture capital for the project in the past two years, including a share float and underwriter's contribution, and the business has a $1.2 million overdraft with the Bank of New Zealand.

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