15 Apr 2011

Tourism Holdings target of partial takeover offer

1:05 pm on 15 April 2011

New Zealand-registered investment company Ballylinch has launched a partial takeover offer for Tourism Holdings.

Tourism Holdings runs the Maui and Britz rental chains, the Kiwi Experience bus and the Waitomo Caves attraction.

The company has been battling a drop-off in bookings in recent times, and lost $1.3 million in the six months to December.

Ballylinch has built a 19% stake in Tourism Holdings over the last month, paying more than $11 million for shares from four parties; Sterling Grace Capital Management, Field Nominees, John Grace and Sterling Grace International.

The investment concern wants to boost that stake by another 41%, giving it majority control.

It is offering 67.5 cents a share - a 12.5% premium on Thursday's closing price.

Ballylinch general partner John Grace says he's been a supporter of Tourism Holdings for many years and believes a stable cornerstone shareholder is important in these difficult times.

The takeover offer will cost Ballylinch an extra $22 million and is conditional on it obtaining more than 50% of the firm. Mr Grace says he expects the offer will get the support it needs.

Tourism Holdings is urging shareholders not to sell their shares while the offer is evaluated and an appraisal report prepared.