Tuan Sing bids for Aussie hotel group


MELBOURNE: Singapore's Tuan Sing Holdings Ltd launched a A$213mil cash bid to buy out Grand Hotel Group, in a move to pick up GHG's hotels below book value. 

Tuan Sing, which already has 25% stake in Grand Hotel, said its offer was a better choice for the shareholders rather than GHG's plan to sell hotels after turning down a A$220mil offer from Malaysian group Mulpha International Bhd

Tuan Sing highlighted pressures under GHG's break-up plan, including tax, timing and fee issues, that might cut the sale proceeds. 

“Having regard to these issues, we believe that our offer provides an alternative which is superior and reflects fair and certain value for existing GHG security holders,” Tuan Sing said. 

Tuan Sing said it would offer A$1.10 a share, which was 29% more than Mulpha's offer of 85 Australian cents a share, but still below GHG's last traded price of A$1.26. 

GHG advised its shareholders to take no action on the Tuan Sing offer while the directors reviewed it. 

Babcock & Brown Ltd, which owns just under 15% of GHG, said it was holding out for at least A$1.33 a share, in line with GHG's break-up plan. 

“It's very likely we'll just support the resolution to wind up the company. If someone wants to make a higher bid and get us closer to the A$1.33, then we're very rational people,” Babcock & Brown head of advisory Trevor Loewensohn told Reuters. 

GHG said that since it announced its break-up plan on Oct 23, it had received a number of approaches from parties interested in buying either GHG or its hotel portfolio. 

The break-up plan, which needs 50% support at GHG's annual meeting on Nov 28, will only go ahead if it can fetch at least the A$553mil book value of its assets, mainly four Hyatt hotels, two Chifley hotels and one Country Comfort hotel, within nine months. 

“There's significant support for the resolution,” chairman Bill Conn told Reuters. 

Tuan Sing, controlled by the family of Indonesian tycoon Sjamsul Nursalim, has residential, commercial and hotel properties in Singapore, China, and Australia, and industrial interests ranging from tyre and auto products to energy and engineering services. 

A condition of the Tuan Sing bid is that GHG shareholders do not vote to approve the sale of the company's assets. – Reuters  

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