GLOBAL – UK pension fund Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and Canada's Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) say they may now stop trying to take over UK water company Severn Trent, after the latest proposal was dismissed.
Severn Trent's board rejected the pre-conditional possible offer from the LongRiver consortium, which includes USS, OMERS's infrastructure arm Borealis and the Kuwait Investment Office.
On behalf of the consortium, Michael Rolland, president and chief executive at Borealis, said: "The Severn Trent board has shown no interest in discussing our pre-conditional offer with us.
"In the absence of any such engagement, there will be no further proposal from the consortium and no offer for Severn Trent shareholders to consider."
However, Andrew Duff, chairman at Severn Trent, said: "We have held private conversations with LongRiver and made clear we have no objections to fuller discussions in the event that LongRiver puts forward a proposal that properly reflects the long-term value and future potential of Severn Trent."
But the consortium said that since it submitted its proposal on 14 May, no member of the consortium or its advisers had met any Severn Trent director or the company's advisers, despite repeated requests.
The latest proposal is to buy shares at 2,200p, assuming the 45.51p per share final dividend already announced in respect of the year ended 31 March 2013 is not paid to shareholders, the company said.
It said this proposal only represented a 3.5% increase on the consortium's previous conditional proposal and a premium of just 20.5% to its share price the day before the announcement of LongRiver's interest in bidding for the company.
The UK utility said this did not reflect the long-term value of the company, and referred to high current demand from investors for infrastructure assets at the moment.
"The inflation-linked nature of its business model provides shareholders with a highly attractive investment at a time of exceptionally low interest rates," it said.
Severn Trent's share price fell by 4.5% on Monday after the early-morning rejection of the proposal to trade at £19.57 around midday, but remained above the closing price of £18.25 just before LongRiver's interest was confirmed.