Draka wants more details as Xinmao lines up funding

By Heng Xie and Greg Roumeliotis

BEIJING/AMSTERDAM (BestGrowthStock) – Dutch cablemaker Draka (DRAK.AS: ) said it wanted more information about the identity, ownership and financing of Chinese group Xinmao following its 1 billion euro ($1.3 billion) proposed bid.

Xinmao’s offer gatecrashed an agreed 821 million euro offer from Italian company Prysmian (PRY.MI: ) for Draka, which had already turned down a 731 million euros bid from French group Nexans (NEXS.PA: ).

Some in the market remained sceptical about Xinmao’s ability to finance such a deal, although a source close to the deal told Reuters on Friday Minsheng Banking Corp (1988.HK: ) is ready to support Xinmao.

In a statement, Draka said: “The boards’ concerns as to the identity of Xinmao and its (ultimate) shareholders, debt and equity financing of the proposed offer and the required regulatory approvals … will need to be addressed by Xinmao to enable the boards to further explore … Xinmao’s proposed offer.

“Draka anticipates to receive adequate clarification and underlying evidence from Xinmao on short notice,” it added.

Draka shares closed down 0.5 percent at 19.105 euros, well above the 16.84 euros value of Prysmian’s cash and shares offer.

“Investors have taken some profits since Draka’s shares jumped to this week’s (20.06 euros) highs. Still, the market sees financing risk, but clearly not that much,” Petercam analyst Paul Schuller said.

CLOSE TOUCH

Xinmao and Minsheng (600016.SS: ), China’s seventh-biggest lender, have been in close touch about the bid, the source familiar with the deal said.

Ma Zong, a spokeswoman for Xinmao, declined comment.

Minsheng was founded by 59 private enterprises in 1996, including New Hope Group founder and billionaire Liu Yonghao. It attracted investors including George Soros and Singapore state fund Temasek (TEM.UL: ) to its $3.9 billion IPO last year.

Du Kerong, Xinmao Group’s chairman, is a former Chinese air force officer who shares a similar background to Ren Zhongfei, founder of China’s top mobile gear maker Huawei (HWT.UL: ) and who also has a military background.

“Chinese government regulators are likely to support the bid because it has high-tech content,” said Zhao Changhui, chief economist of the Export-Import Bank of China. He said he did not know if his bank was involved in financing the bid.

Regulators are likely to expedite approval, give it tax breaks and a financial guarantee, Zhao said. China Construction Bank (0939.HK: ) should also be willing to back Xinmao’s bid if Chinese regulator’s approve the takeover, another source told Reuters.

Du Kerong is in the Netherlands with a team of senior executives to negotiate the deal, another source, who also declined to be named, said.

Draka said on Tuesday it had started talks with Xinmao, founded in 2000 and which employs around 30,000.

Xinmao however does not have a track record of executing cross-border deals and most of its growth has come from investments in new projects or funding expansions. The only other deal which a unit of Xinmao has done was to buy a 17 percent stake in a group company for about $6 million.

Tianjin’s city government has endorsed the bid and hinted at wider state support. The Netherlands does not foresee any concerns about the deal, a Dutch government spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday.

Xinmao said its bid for Draka aimed to utilise the latter’s core technologies to develop the Chinese market, which accounted for 46 percent of global demand for fibre optic cable in 2009.

(Additional reporting by Melanie Lee,Shengnan Zhang, Benjamin Lim and Denny Thomas; Editing by Sara Webb and David Holmes)

Draka wants more details as Xinmao lines up funding