Brooke’s Somta deal casts doubt on Howle’s £6m bid

The Howle Holdings board met this week amid speculation that it is to pull the plug on its £6.29m bid for Sheffield toolmaker Brooke Industrial. Brooke shareholders last week approved the company’s acquisition of South African tools business Somta and the purchase of a freehold property occupied by its subsidiary APW. Gloucester-based Howle has already […]

The Howle Holdings board met this week amid speculation that it is to pull the plug on its £6.29m bid for Sheffield toolmaker Brooke Industrial.

Brooke shareholders last week approved the company’s acquisition of South African tools business Somta and the purchase of a freehold property occupied by its subsidiary APW.

Gloucester-based Howle has already said it would call off the bid if Brooke’s Somta deal went through. Howle Chairman George Govan, who attended the extraordinary general meeting, was said to be `disappointed’ by the result of the vote.

Meanwhile, Howle has asked the Stock Exchange to investigate dealings in its shares after the sale of a parcel of shares late last month caused a slump in its share price.

The sale was significant because Howle’s bid for Brooke was an all-paper offer and the bid value fluctuates with the value of Howle’s share price. Howle said the shares were sold by a company in the same group as Brooke’s financial adviser – which refused to comment on the matter.

A spokesman for Brooke strongly rejected allegations of wrongdoing.

Brooke chairman John Dashper said: `All I can say is that we as a board haven’t had any involvement in any Howle Holdings share transactions.’

`The amount of shares traded was very small in value and reflects the illiquidity of the stock, something we referred to in our defence document.’