AP Eagers now has a 38 per cent stake in AHG.

AHG appoints new chair as bidder lifts stake

Friday, 26 April, 2019 - 12:11

AP Eagers has increased its interest in Automotive Holdings Group by 9.15 per cent, as the takeover target appointed a former KPMG and EY partner as its new chairman.

It entered into an acceptance facility for approximately 30.35 million shares, which at its offer of $1.92 per share equates to around $58.27 million.

AP Eagers said it the facility at this stage does no constitute formal acceptances of the offer and may be withdrawn at any time prior the the preconditions being met.

BusinessNews understands the bulk of its new acceptances came from one long-standing group of AHG shareholders, the Wheatley family, who also have a substantial position in AP Eagers.

AP, which was already AHG’s largest shareholder, now has a provisional 38 per cent stake.

Earlier this week, AHG urged its shareholders not to accept AP Eagers' conditional offer of one share for every 3.8 AGH shares until it prepared its target statement in response.

AHG warned shareholders they may be disadvantaged if they agree to sell before the “highly conditional” deal is approved and said it will release its target's statement on or before May 8.

KPMG will prepare an independent expert's report for its target’s statement.

Today, AHG appointed Richard England to chair the company’s board, following Robert McEniry’s resignation from the role last April.

Mr McEniry resigned due to an undisclosed illness, and three months later he passed away aged 71.

Mr England is currently chair of QANTM Intellectual Property and is on the board of Bingo Industries and Japara Healthcare, which are all three are ASX-listed.

Previously, he was a partner at Peat Marwick (which is now KPMG) and EY for a combined 12 years.

In a statement, AHG said he will assist the board and its advisors to consider the AP Eagers offer and help the management team improve financial performance.

Mr England said he was looking forward to maximising value for AHG shareholders.

“I am honoured to have been asked to join the board of AHG at a time of significant transformation and opportunity,” he said.

Shares in AHG were down 1.67 per cent to trade at $2.35 each at 1.45pmAEDT.