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Montana directors slam NZSE

By Ben Dutton

Friday 9th February 2001

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In the midst of a heated takeover battle for Montana Group (NZSE: MON), the winemaker's Independent Directors have sent a terse statement to the New Zealand Stock Exchange expressing their extreme concern over the granting of a waiver to Lion Nathan (NZSE: LNN).

The Independent Directors also said that it is unclear why their application to have the waiver overturned was declined.

"We understand that Allied Domecq would have been prepared to make a counter-bid and had been relying upon the Listing Rules to liaise with London and make that bid for all the shares in the Company over the weekend," the Directors said.

However, because the waiver to Lion Nathan was granted, Allied Domecq evidently does not have time to prepare a counterbid. It is also understood that institutions are planning on taking up Lion's offer of $4.65 - but Lion only wants 50.1% of the company, whereas Allied Domecq are after the entire 100%.

It would appear that if Lion is able to gain control of Montana minority shareholders and Peter Masfen will be left out in the cold.

The Montana Independent Directors are highly critical of the way the Stock Exchange has handled the scenario:

"We believe that the Panel's actions have been seriously detrimental to the interests of minority shareholders in this Company and that the reputation of the New Zealand Stock Exchange will have been seriously damaged in the world's financial markets" they said.

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