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Contract caterer Elior to return to private ownership

29 June 2006

Contract caterer Elior is on the verge of returning to private ownership, after Holding Bercy Investissement (HBI) - the investment vehicle owned by its chief executive - boosted its stake in the company to 90% in a public offer.

Robert Zolade, chief executive of the French-based caterer, announced his desire to return the caterer to private hands in March because he felt the company's stock market performance had failed to reflect its strong position and regular growth.

The offer of €13.40 (£9.25) per share ran from 10 May to 13 June and saw HBI increase its holding from 19.34% to 90.54%, and its voting rights from 20.70% to 90.77%.

Under French law, the company can only de-list from the stock market when the majority shareholder holds 95% of the equity.

HBI plans to give remaining shareholders an opportunity to offload their investment by reopening the offer for 10 days at the start of July. It is expected that the remaining shares will be sold to HBI during this time.

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