Sulzer reject takeover bid

Sulzer AG, Switzerland’s largest machinery maker, has rejected a takeover offer worth 4.4 billion Swiss francs.

Sulzer AG, Switzerland’s largest machinery maker, has rejected a takeover offer worth 4.4 billion Swiss francs ($2.6 billion) from its biggest shareholder, preferring to accelerate an overhaul itself.

Sulzer plans to spin off Sulzer Medica AG, distributing its 74 percent stake to shareholders, the company said in a statement.

Sulzer Chief Executive Ueli Roost has come under pressure from InCentive and other shareholders to split its medical unit from oil pumps.

InCentive, which owns 15 percent of Sulzer, led a shareholder revolt in 2000 that prompted Roost to drop a plan to buy the 26 percent of Medica.

Sulzer shares rose up to 32 francs to 1,168, giving the Winterthur, Switzerland-based company a market value of 4.2 billion francs. Medica shares rose as much as 8.5 francs, or 2.2 percent, to 388.5.

InCentive, whose chairman Karl Otto Poehl was Bundesbank President between 1980 and 1991, owns 15 percent of Sulzer. The company, whose market value is a fourth of Sulzer’s, offered the equivalent of 1,220 per Sulzer share, or 11 percent more than the closing price on February 16.

‘This offer is not attractive for our shareholders,’ said Sulzer Chairman and CEO Ueli Roost. ‘In actual fact, InCentive Capital merely intend to continue the corporate realignment worked out by us to their own benefit. The InCentive Capital offer is significantly lower than the value our shareholders can expect from us.’

Details on the separation of Sulzer and Sulzer Medica and the strategies of the two companies will be presented by Sulzer at an Annual Press Conference scheduled for March 9, 2001.

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