MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, November 16th 2018 - 18:26 UTC

FIH considers acquisition approach from an Argentine fund as “unwelcome”

Wednesday, March 22nd 2017 - 09:12 UTC
Full article 71 comments
FIH Group independent Directors said such a deal “unwelcome” and “seriously threatens to undermine the FIC business and the interests of its employees”. FIH Group independent Directors said such a deal “unwelcome” and “seriously threatens to undermine the FIC business and the interests of its employees”.
The recent approach by Dolphin Fund and its beneficial owner Eduardo Elsztain, had requested for an access to information on FIH. The recent approach by Dolphin Fund and its beneficial owner Eduardo Elsztain, had requested for an access to information on FIH.
FIG recalled that any proposed change of ownership affecting assets in the Islands, “will be scrutinized for compliance with Falkland Islands Law”. (Pic FIG) FIG recalled that any proposed change of ownership affecting assets in the Islands, “will be scrutinized for compliance with Falkland Islands Law”. (Pic FIG)

The much publicized and controversial bid from an Argentine group to acquire a leading position in the Falkland Islands Holdings, which owns the Falkland Islands Company, closely linked to the Islands' history and economy, has been considered “a real hazard” by FIH directors.

 In effect having considered a rival approach to acquire FIH Group by Dolphin Fund, independent Directors consider such a deal as “unwelcome” and “seriously threatens to undermine the FIC business and the interests of its employees”.

The Independent Directors of FIH (being John Foster and Jeremy Brade, who are independent to the initial bid from Staunton Holdings) note the recent unsolicited approach by Dolphin Fund and its beneficial owner Mr. Eduardo Elsztain, an Argentine citizen, and have considered Dolphin's request for access to information on FIH.

They have released the following statement: “Having taken appropriate soundings and duly reflected on the approach, and noted reports that the approach is causing consternation in the Falkland Islands, the Independent Directors believe that the prospect of Argentine-related control of the Falkland Islands Company (”FIC”), a subsidiary of FIH which has operations based solely in the Falkland Islands, seriously threatens to undermine the FIC business and the interests of its employees.

“The Independent Directors also note that the Falkland Islands Government (”FIG”) has the power to grant or withhold licenses to own assets and land in the Islands, including the licenses that FIC currently holds. FIG has stated that it is closely monitoring the situation and will scrutinize any proposed change of ownership for compliance with Falkland Islands Law.

“Accordingly, the Independent Directors regard the Dolphin approach as unwelcome and posing a real hazard to FIH. They are not required to provide Dolphin with information on FIH and are not prepared to enter into discussions with Dolphin. They oppose the approach as unwelcome, as in their view it is entirely incapable of serving the best interests of FIC, FIH and its shareholders.”

Dolphin had written to the Board of FIH Group plc asking for information to enable it to evaluate making a cash offer for FIH, at what Dolphin said would be a significant premium to the current offer of £3 per share made by Staunton Holdings Limited.

The original bidder for FIH, Staunton Holdings Limited, is a company linked to the Rowland Family, of which FIH Chairman Edmund Rowland is a member. He is the son of Tory controversial donor David Rowland.

Another company linked to the Rowland Family already owned 22.65% of FIH and Staunton owns another 2.34%, while Dolphin currently owns 2.54%, according to information in the UK media.

When the operation surfaced, a Foreign Office spokesman said: “This is a commercial matter between two companies and not for the Foreign Office to comment on”.

However last week from Stanley the Falklands' government said that while it is a matter for shareholders to decide, ”the Government continues to closely monitor the status of Dolphin Fund’s potential bid”, since any proposed change of ownership affecting assets in the Islands, “will be scrutinized for compliance with Falkland Islands Law”.

FIH traces its roots to 1852 when its subsidiary, the Falkland Islands Company, was granted Royal Charter status. The company now also owns an art dealer and the Portsmouth Harbor Ferry Company.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • Doveoverdover

    Ok perhaps not...

    Red Hot Poop just published:

    “Dolphin's intentions regarding FIH and its businesses are purely commercial and Dolphin has no intention to disrupt the status quo in the Falkland Islands. Dolphin and its affiliates (the ”Group”) have decades of successful expertise in the real estate, hospitality, retail, agriculture, tourism and transportation sectors, which experience Dolphin believes will help FIH's businesses. Furthermore, the Group owns businesses in a wide variety of countries including Argentina, Brazil, the USA, Israel, India and the UK, being a worldwide enterprise with significant resources and commercial experience. Dolphin is committed to building mutual trust with the Falkland Islands Government and its local population by expanding FIH's existing enterprises on the islands, creating new jobs, attracting new capital and further investment into the Falkland Islands economy, while complying with all relevant regulation and building a long-term relationship with the local community. Dolphin intends to maintain a British management in FIH, should an offer be made by Dolphin.”

    Mar 23rd, 2017 - 09:33 am +8
  • Doveoverdover

    I'm sure if an examining magistrate asked him, Roger, he would say that he does not hold a stake in in FIH or any oil company and that, in any case, his motives are purely in support of national (and soce voce Peronist) objectives.

    The holding in question and the potential offer we are discussing here relate to a legal entity registered and managed in Uruguay by a lady with a name indicating her to be of British origin. It took a couple of days to penetrate that loose cover but in the end the Evening Standard under its new ex-ministerial Conservative MP editor broke the story. There is probably more to come.

    Some people live for the moment and others take the long view. I imagine Sr Elsztain with his acute sense of destiny and purpose is of the latter tribe and will be more concerned about the needs of the next Argentinian government rather than this one.

    Mar 23rd, 2017 - 07:46 am +6
  • Doveoverdover

    Nothing really fishy 'ere. What Sr. Elsztain really wants is to own Momart (pronounced marm art) and its Royal Warrant. Or an invitation to Buck House for a garden party. Or for Trooping the Colour. Or to replace Spotty Rowlands as best friend of “Air Miles Andy”. Or to cut Pompey off from Gosport - that'll teach em for sending a Task Force in 82. Got nothing at all to do with a back door entry or Rafael's development of the air defence system, honest.

    Mar 22nd, 2017 - 10:38 am +5
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!