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13 September 2007


Sumitomo aiming to buy back control of STS

To regain control of deposition and etch system maker Surface Technology Systems plc (STS) of Newport, Wales, UK, Japan’s Sumitomo Precision Products Co Ltd (SPP), which currently own 63% of the shares, recently offered to buy out the firm’s other shareholders. The offer of 11.5 pence per share (a premium of about 48.4% as of 23 August) values the STS’ total ordinary share capital at about £3.67m.

SPP was previously sole owner, from its acquisition of STS in March 1995 until the firm was floated on the London Stock Exchange at the end of 2000. SPP now aims to cancel trading of the shares on the LSE and re-register STS as a private company. 

“For a number of years STS has been dependent on the financial support of SPP,” says STS’ non-executive chairman Nigel Randall. “The level of financial support has had to increase significantly in the current year. The independent directors now believe the future development of the company’s business will be better facilitated as a private company and as a wholly owned subsidiary of SPP,” he adds.

STS’ independent directors (who own 0.53% of the ordinary share capital) have said that they consider the terms of the offer to be fair and reasonable, and recommend that shareholders accept the offer.

“The SPP directors believe there are considerable benefits to STS, such as enhanced critical mass and financial resources, in it being developed and funded as a wholly owned subsidiary and privately traded business,” says SPP’s executive VP Hisao Shiotani.

See related item:

STS plans cost-cutting strategy to counter anticipated profit shortfall