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September 29, 2015

Volume 7 Issue 4

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Tide Water Opposes Standard Greases Takeover

Mumbai-based Standard Greases and Specialities last week announced a hostile takeover bid for Tide Water Oil Co. (India) Ltd., but Tide Water’s promoter said it would oppose the initiative.

Government-run Andrew Yule & Co., Tide Water’s promoter, said Friday that it has the support of two state-owned insurers, Life Insurance Corp. of India and United India Insurance Co., which hold minority stakes in Tide Water. Both recently committed to stay invested in the Kolkata-based lubricant company and to back the current management.

Standard Greases, which on Sept 22 announced a voluntary open offer for 26 percent of Tide Water, said it will pay Rs 16,632 (U.S. $251) per share, valuing the 26 percent stake at Rs 376.73 crore. Standard Greases currently owns 25 percent of Tide Water and is also a supplier to the company. It is cooperating with two private equity funds on its bid.

Standard Greases management said the two companies operate in the same field and that the timing was good to consolidate.

Addressing reporters, Andrew Yule Chairman and Managing Director Kallol Dutta said he was confident that small shareholders would back existing management. The company claims the support of financial institutions and employee trusts, which own another 14 percent, aside from its own 26 percent in the lubricant business. Datta ruled out a counter bid on grounds of insufficient funds but offered to take representatives of Standard Greases on its board if the Union national government allowed it to do so. Tide Water currently has nine directors; it can take on three more, he said.

Dutta said, “The board of Andrew Yule had authorized the management to ramp up its holding in Tide Water – a takeover target for almost a decade – but the company didn’t have spare cash to strengthen its position."

However, Standard Greases is not the only company to take an active interest in Tide Water Oil. Kolkata-based Keventer group was acquiring shares, and at one point Keventer had a 20 percent stake in Tide Water. Keventer finally exited towards the end of 2013 when the stock was around Rs 7,000 per share.

Tide Water owns the Veedol brand worldwide, having bought it in 2011 from energy giant BP Plc. Tide Water is actively looking to expand sales outside India. It is gearing up to enter the South African and Sudanese markets with Veedol automotive lubricants, to license sales of its products in Bangladesh, and to relaunch Veedol in the Americas through a new wholly-owned subsidiary.