JULY 27--The Qioptiq Group (Orsay, France; www.qiotiq.com) , a designer and manufacturer of high-precision optical components and modules for military and commercial applications, has announced its intention to launch a public takeover offer to acquire the outstanding shares of LINOS AG (Goettingen, Germany; www.linos.de). The price offered will be EUR 16.00 per share, equating to a approximately 44% premium on the three-month weighted average of EUR 11.10. LINOS is a manufacturer of sophisticated optical systems. The acquisition will be made by the ultimate holding company of the Qioptiq Group via Optco Akquisitions (Optco), a company specifically provided for this acquisition. The Qioptiq Group is an investee company of funds managed by Candover, a private equity company in Europe.
Gerd Litfin, management board chairman of LINOS AG, and his family, who together own 40.8% of the shares, has already agreed to sell his shareholding to Optco for EUR 16.00 per share subject to the condition that at least 75% of the shares in LINOS are held by Optco following completion of the takeover offer. Moreover, the takeover will require the approval of the responsible cartel authorities.
LINOS designs, develops, and produces a range of equipment for growth markets such as lasers, measurement technology, medicine, biotechnology, and semiconductors. The company, which is listed in the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and emerged in 1996 from a management buyout, has increased its revenues by 7.9% year on year to EUR 43.5 million in the first half of 2006. It forecasts total fiscal 2006 revenues of between EUR 85 and 88 million. LINOS AG, which employs 750 people around the world, has three production facilities in Germany and one plant in Poland.
Optco plans to publish the detailed offer document by the end of August 2006. The takeover offer will be subject to a minimum acceptance rate of 75% of LINOS AG's capital stock. The transaction is expected to be completed in the last quarter of 2006, provided antitrust approval is received. However, the bidder does not anticipate any problems in this regard and expects antitrust approval in September 2006.