Colonial shareholders seek clarifications on Dubai takeover bid


The two main shareholders in Spanish property group Colonial said on Thursday they had asked for clarifications on an offer for the troubled firm by the Investment Corporation of Dubai.


Colonial's former chairman, Luis Portillo, and Spanish realtor Nozar, who together hold 52 per cent of Spain's second-biggest property firm, said they were studying the offer and have "asked ICD for clarifications and modifications.


"The shareholders want to take a definitive decision on the offer as soon as possible," they said in a statement released to Spain's stock market regulator.


ICD, a sovereign wealth fund owned by Dubai government, said on Wednesday it had launched an initial offer to buy 50.1 per cent of Colonial from Portillo and Nozar for 1.85 euros per share in cash or 2.25 euros in securities.


It valued Colonial, which is burdened by massive debt, at between 3.02 billion ($4.54 billion; Dh16.66 billion) and 3.68 billion euros.


The Dubai firm gave the two 48 hours to respond, and said if they and all creditors agreed it would then launch a full takeover bid.


Colonial shares have lost more than 50 per cent of their value since the end of 2007 on concerns over the group's debts, falling property sales and the international credit crunch that has cooled the housing market.


Colonial's debt was 8.6 billion euros ($12.6 billion; Dh46.24 billion) at the end of 2007.


It has been the focus of takeover speculation since Portillo was ousted in a wide-reaching board reshuffle in December. (AFP)