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BOGDANKA/WARSAW, Poland, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Shareholders in Polish coal miner Bogdanka on Thursday signalled their willingness to allow a takeover of the company by power group Enea by rejecting a plan to limit new shareholders’ rights.
Last month, Enea made a bid for a majority stake in its major coal supplier Bogdanka, offering 67.39 zlotys per share or 1.48 billion zlotys ($398.63 million) in total.
Low coal prices have prompted a shakeout across the Polish mining sector. Bogdanka has been hit by the falling prices and competition from state-run miners, which have flooded the market with cheap coal.
State-run Enea’s bid followed its termination of a long-term coal supply contract with Bogdanka,which send the mining company’s shares to an all-time low.
In a response, Bogdanka’s supervisory board proposed to limit new shareholders rights so that they would not be able to control more than 10 percent of votes at meetings, irrespective of the size of their stake.
The plan was designed to strengthen Bogdanka’s shareholders negotiating position but shareholders have decided not to use it, signalling they could sell their shares to Enea at the offered price, analysts said.
“We assess Bogdanka’s shareholders decision very positively,” Enea said on Thursday. “This confirms the fact that we are the best possible investor for the miner.”
The biggest shareholder in Bogdanka is a pension fund co-owned by Aviva and BZ WBK with a 15 percent stake, ING’s local pension fund with 14 percent and Polish insurer PZU’s pension fund, with nearly 10 percent.
“Negotiations are likely to continue, but today’s decision by the shareholders means a positive conclusion of Enea’s call,” Robert Maj, equity analyst at Haitong Bank said.
Most analysts believe that if Enea fails to take over Bogdanka, it will terminate the remaining coal-supply contracts it has with Bogdanka, forcing the miner to significantly reduce its output.
According to Enea’s initial plan, Bogdanka shareholders could decide to sell their shares to Enea up until Oct.16, but Enea said it planned to give Bogdanka more time to respond to its bid. ($1 = 3.7127 zlotys) (Reporting by Wojciech Zurawski and Agnieszka Barteczko. Editing by Jane Merriman)