Oct 12 (Reuters) - The board of Finnish engineer Neles
is sticking with its recommendation for shareholders
to accept a takeover offer from Alfa Laval, saying it does not
have enough details on a rival merger proposal from Valmet to
make a comparison.
Valmet, the largest shareholder of valves maker
Neles, approached Neles in September with a merger proposal,
challenging a $2 billion bid from Swedish engineering group Alfa
"Despite our efforts, there is no concrete proposal from
Valmet's Board of Directors available to Neles which we could
fairly assess from the perspective of Neles' shareholders,"
board chairman Jukka Moisio said in a statement.
In response, Valmet repeated its opposition to Alfa Laval's
11.50 euros per share bid and said it had outlined the strategic
rationale for the combination, the potential structure of the
transaction and the potential for synergies.
"Valmet has also made a proposal on the timetable and
emphasized its willingness to engage in discussions...to clarify
a more specific merger proposal including a share exchange
ratio," it said.
Valmet, which develops and supplies technologies, automation
systems and services for the pulp, paper and energy industries,
has been raising its stake in Neles since Alfa Laval made its
offer. It held 29.5% of shares at the end of September.
Valmet said it was worried Alfa Laval could waive its 2/3
acceptance condition and potentially complete its tender offer
with a lower acceptance level.
Alfa Laval was not immediately available to comment.
Neles, whose valves are used in industries ranging from oil
and gas to pulp and paper, became an independent company in July
when parent Metso's 2019 deal to merge its bigger minerals
technology unit with Outotec was finalised.
Shares in Neles were 0.4% higher at 11.62 euros. Valmet was
down 0.4% and Alfa Laval down 0.9%.
(Reporting by Tarmo Virki in Tallinn, Additional reporting by
Helena Soderpalm in Stockholm; editing by Mark Potter, Kirsten