Axiom to go to shareholders

The winner of a battle between two of Perth’s property heavyweights could be known next month, with Axiom Properties Ltd last week filing documents with the Australian Stock Exchange and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission to put the two bids to shareholders.
During the past three months, the Pivot Group and Saramac Nominees have been vying for control of Axiom, a battle that has helped lift the share price of the company from two cents to eight cents.
Shareholders will be asked to choose between bids by Peter Laurence-controlled Pivot, and Luke Saraceni and Macquarie Bank joint venture company Saramac.
Both bidders are asking for shares, convertible notes and options. Saramac is offering six cents a share to raise $6.6 million and take a 40 per cent interest in the company, while Pivot is offering four cents a share to raise $5 million for a 43 per cent stake in the company.
Both bidders have voiced their intentions to expand the company.
Pivot and Saramac are also offering different options packages, with Pivot earlier this month changing the exercise price of its 140 million options from four cents to 20 cents, while Saramac is proposing an exercise price of 10 cents for 50 million options.
Pivot says the raising of the option price showed a long-term commitment to grow Axiom, and shows its intention to create a “long-term blue chip property company with a range of assets across Australia”.
Mr Saraceni told WA Business News last week that Saramac was offering the higher bid for the company, despite Pivot’s move to increase its option price.
“They are options only; it is not a guaranteed amount,” he said.
“And Pivot is using it as a smokescreen to draw attention away from the fact they are only offering four cents a share and we are offering six cents a share.
“The real difference is $5 million versus $6.6 million. We would be staggered if Axiom doesn’t recommend our offer.
“We want to take this company forward and turn it into a proper machine that will enthrall shareholders.”
Axiom managing director Peter Meagher told WA Business News the company hoped to have a meeting next month where shareholders could vote on the two proposals.
As part of information sent to shareholders with an explanatory memorandum about the bids and independent experts report, Axiom directors will make a recommendation on which bid they believe is in the best interests of shareholders.
Mr Meagher declined to say which offer the directors would be recommending until the ASX and ASIC had approved the material to be sent to shareholders.
“We do need to raise capital to fund the Port Geographe development, cover any unexpected events there, and also to diversify the company,” Mr Meagher said.
“There are large infrastructure and environment management costs associated with Port Geographe, and we didn’t want to get into debt to fund the rest of the development; it is a complex and long-term project.
“Both Pivot and Saramac are proposing other development opportunities to the company as well as the capital – we don’t expect it to remain a single-asset company.”
Axiom’s current sole asset is a 40 per cent interest in Port Geographe, with MacSea Nominees, another joint venture company between Mr Saraceni and Maquarie Bank, holding the other 60 per cent interest.

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