Altadis bidders 'may file offers within days'

28th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

28 June 2007, MADRID - Altadis Chief Executive Antonio Vazquez said Thursday that prospective bidders for the tobacco company have finished their due diligence process.

28 June 2007

MADRID - Altadis Chief Executive Antonio Vazquez said Thursday that prospective bidders for the tobacco company have finished their due diligence process.

Both British tobacco maker Imperial Tobacco Group PLC and private equity firm CVC Capital Partners Ltd. have made preliminary offers for the manufacturer of Fortuna and Gitanes and asked for further information to prepare binding offers.

Earlier Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the CVC and Imperial Tobacco offers may be filed "within days."

"We have provided (the bidders) with all the information required," said Altadis Chairman Jean-Dominique Comolli. "We have tried to build a level playing field."

Altadis shares were up 0.7 percent at EUR 49.29 (US$66.24) in Madrid.

Executives of the Spanish-French tobacco company spoke at a press conference ahead of the company's annual meeting.

Imperial first approached Altadis in March with a bid of €45 (US$60.47) a share, which Altadis turned down. The British company was again rebuffed when it returned with a higher bid of €47 (US$63.16) a share in April _ an offer that valued Altadis at €12.03 billion (US$16.17 billion).

In May, a group formed by CVC made a rival offer of EUR 12.8 billion (US$17.2 billion), or EUR 50 (US$67.19) a share.

Altadis is also the world's leading cigar distributor through its 50-50 venture with the Cuban state-owned cigar company Habanos SA.

[Coyright AP with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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