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    SKI   AU000000SKI7

SPARK INFRASTRUCTURE GROUP

(SKI)
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Australia's Spark Infra rejects $3.7 bln bid, but leaves door open for talks

07/14/2021 | 08:04pm EDT

* Spark says A$2.80-per-share offer undervalues co

* Shares jump to more than 42-month high

* Spark won't allow access to books but open to talks

July 15 (Reuters) - Australia's Spark Infrastructure on Thursday rejected a A$4.91 billion ($3.67 billion) takeover bid by a consortium that included private equity giant KKR & Co Inc, but kept its door open to further talks, sending its shares up nearly 8%.

The second bid from KKR and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board of A$2.80-per-share was 10 cents more than the previous one, Spark revealed.

The electricity poles-and-wires firm is open to sharing "limited information on its business and prospects" subject to a confidentiality agreement, but said the offer did not merit access to its books.

The news sent Spark shares up 7.7% to a more than 42-month high of A$2.67, which is above the first bid but shy of the second. Thursday's offer was at a near 13% premium to Spark's closing price in the previous session.

KKR, in an emailed statement, confirmed making the bid with the Canadian pension fund.

"Overall, we believe the bid prices appear fair and we expect the management to be under increasing pressure to engage further with the consortium, or disclose a better pathway to realising value," J.P. Morgan analysts said in a note.

The offer is the latest in a flurry of deal activity in Australia as record-low interest rates have prompted institutional investors with ample capital to chase higher yields just as the economy enjoys a sharp rebound from a pandemic-driven recession.

A group of infrastructure funds offered $16.6 billion on Thursday to buy Sydney Airport Holdings, which the operator of Australia's largest airport rejected as a lowball bid.

Spark, which operates an electricity distribution network in Southern Australia, has seen its shares rise more than 17% so far in 2021, as infrastructure spending and industrial activity rebound.

Spark is being advised by Goldman Sachs on the buyout offer.

($1 = 1.3367 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan and Rushil Dutta; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Subhranshu Sahu)


ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
KKR & CO. INC. -7.97% 61.25 Delayed Quote.64.19%
SPARK INFRASTRUCTURE GROUP 0.00% 2.81 End-of-day quote.33.18%
SYDNEY AIRPORT LIMITED -1.45% 8.18 End-of-day quote.27.61%
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Financials
Sales 2021 238 M 172 M 172 M
Net income 2021 53,2 M 38,5 M 38,5 M
Net Debt 2021 5 102 M 3 696 M 3 696 M
P/E ratio 2021 93,0x
Yield 2021 4,13%
Capitalization 4 931 M 3 579 M 3 573 M
EV / Sales 2021 42,2x
EV / Sales 2022 41,4x
Nbr of Employees 5 400
Free-Float 99,0%
Chart SPARK INFRASTRUCTURE GROUP
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Spark Infrastructure Group Technical Analysis Chart | SKI | AU000000SKI7 | MarketScreener
Technical analysis trends SPARK INFRASTRUCTURE GROUP
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
TrendsBullishBullishBullish
Income Statement Evolution
Consensus
Sell
Buy
Mean consensus HOLD
Number of Analysts 6
Last Close Price 2,81 AUD
Average target price 2,88 AUD
Spread / Average Target 2,60%
EPS Revisions
Managers and Directors
Richard F. Francis Chief Executive Officer, MD & Director
Gerard Vernon Dover Chief Financial Officer
Douglas Francis McTaggart Chairman
Andrew James Fay Independent Non-Executive Director
Gregory John Walton Martin Independent Non-Executive Director
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