22.12.2003

Ramirent acquisition of Altima moves ahead

The recent offer made by Finland-based rental company Ramirent to acquire Altima, the rental division of Swedish Contractor NCC, which was due to be spun-off as a publicly quoted business on 16 December, looks set to go ahead during the next four weeks. Today, Ramirent registered the required increase in capital with the issue of 6,199,322 new shares. The deal is set to create one of the largest equipment rental operations in Europe. The two companies are leaders in both crane and access rental in Scandinavia and the Baltic states.

Also today, Ramirent called an Extraordinary General Meeting for 13 January to confirm and approve the deal.

The formal share swap deal also officially opened today after the capital increase was posted. It will close on 19 January unless otherwise extended.

With around 60 percent of Ramirent's shareholders already agreeing the deal along with the majority of the new Altima shareholders, plus an unconditional Altima board recommendation, it is difficult to see how the merger will not go ahead.

Under the offer, which was first announced on 10 December, Ramirent will swap 0.60 new Ramirent shares for each of the new Altima shares. Subscribed shareholders for the Altima float will own around 48 percent of the much larger, merged company.

With total revenues of €313 million and over 240 outlets in Scandinavia, Finland, the Baltic States, Poland, Hungary and Russia, the merger will make Ramirent the market leader in the Nordic countries and Poland and make it one of the largest rental companies in Europe.

The merger is a great fit for Ramirent as Altima boasts the strongest rental firm in Sweden, Scandinavia’s largest market and where, in spite of the Bautas acquisition last year, Ramirent has its thinnest market coverage. In turn, Altima’s poorest coverage is in Finland where Ramirent is strongest.

As part of the proposed deal, Ramirent has also negotiated a five-year supply agreement with Altima's parent company, NCC. The company currently generates annual business of around €93 million for Altima. A three-year agreement had already been agreed between Altima and NCC as part of the sell-off, but Ramirent has negotiated to extend it by a further two years.

Erkki Norvio will remain president and CEO of the merged Ramirent business, while current Altima president, Mikael Oberg, will take over responsibility for Ramirent’s Swedish operations. The merged board will include two current Altima board members, Ulf Lundahl and Peter Hofvenstan, who also assumes the post of deputy board chairman. Raimo Taivalkoski will continue as board chairman.

Ramirent and Altima both run extensive fleets of cranes, (largely tower cranes), scaffold and powered access equipment. The merged business is expected to continue to invest heavily in its extensive crane and access fleets.

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