10/02/2006 - 12:36

Pivot sweetens offer for Axiom to $33m commitment

10/02/2006 - 12:36

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Peter Laurance's private company, Pivot Group, has varied its offer for Nedlands-based Axiom Properties Ltd with Pivot offering a new deal, with a big boost to the options package it would take to as much as $28 million.

Peter Laurance's private company, Pivot Group, has varied its offer for Nedlands-based Axiom Properties Ltd with Pivot offering a new deal, with a big boost to the options package it would take to as much as $28 million.

Pivot executive director Ben Laurance said that the deal represented a $33 million commitment by Pivot in the listed company, including an offer to increase the strike price of 140 million options exercisable at between January 2007 and January 2009 to 20 cents each - or $28 million in total.

Previously the options Pivot offered to take were exercisable by January 2008 at just 4 cents.

"We wanted to demonstrate a long-term commintment to the company," Mr Laurance.

"This is our money not OPM, other people's money."

Pivot's offer comes days after joint venture vehicle Saramac Nominees and Axiom entered a two stage agreement that would see Saramac subscribe for a range of Axiom shares, partly paid shares and options for a total of $11.6 million.

In its previous offer, Pivot's total amount to be raised was $10.6 million.

Saramac is jointly owned by Perth businessman Luke Saraceni and Macquarie Bank.

The new offer, subject to shareholder approval, would see Pivot subscribe for a range of Axiom shares, partly paid shares and 140 million options exercisable at 20 cents.

Pivot chairman Peter Laurance said Pivot Group was concerned that if the Pivot/Macquarie stoush over Axiom continues, Axiom shareholders may not get a timely opportunity to vote for the future of their company.

"If the EGM gets held in March, it will already have been six months since Axiom directors first contracted for Pivot to re-finance them," he said.

"We think some interested parties have thus far been single-minded about whether the share price is 2.6 cents as it was when Pivot first made its offer, or 4 cents which was Macquarie's opening bid which Pivot matched, or 6 cents partly-paid, or 10 cents in the case of Macquarie's options.

"Pivot has a much grander vision for the company's future, based on the development opportunities it intends to offer Axiom on favourable terms, so that it becomes a long-term, blue chip property company with a range of assets across Australia, instead of being a single-asset, WA company as it is now.

"To demonstrate our confidence in Pivot's ability to lift Axiom out of its present micro-cap. status, we have set the strike price of our options at 20 cents, so that shareholders can see our long term commitment to grow Axiom.

"I am sure shareholders will take account of the fact that Pivot Group is putting its own money into Axiom, whereas Macquarie are conducting a banking exercise to improve their existing income stream from the Port Geographe project, of which they already own 60 per cent.

In January, the Takeovers Panel ruled favourably in relation to objections by both the Pivot Group and Saramac Nominees about the other's proposal to take over Axiom Properties Ltd.

Both Pivot and Saramac have made moves to take over the listed company, whose sole asset is a 40 per cent stake in the Port Geographe Canal development, just north of Busselton.

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