PMI to de-list Swedish Match after raising stake to 93 per cent

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A Swedish Match concept store for the tobacco group's moist powder tobacco "snus" in Stockholm, Sweden October 24, 2018. REUTERS/Anna Ringstrom/File Photo

Philip Morris International (PMI) said on Monday it now owned a big enough stake in Swedish Match to initiate a compulsory redemption of remaining shares in its Swedish peer and would take it off the stock market.

PMI in May launched a $16 billion (£13bn) takeover bid for the Swedish tobacco and nicotine products company.

“We are delighted to have obtained over 90 per cent ownership of Swedish Match, allowing us to initiate a minority redemption process to acquire the remaining shares outstanding and request the delisting of the company from the stock market,” PMI chief executive Jacek Olczak said in a statement.

Buying Swedish Match, with its popular wet snuff ‘snus’ products and tobacco-free nicotine ZYN pouches, will aid PMI in its stated ambition to move away from health-harming cigarettes and eventually become a smoke-free company.

“This transaction marks a major milestone in accelerating our shared objective of a smoke-free future,” Olczak said.

PMI’s initial offer of 106 Swedish crowns (£8.4) per share met stiff resistance from activist investor Elliott Management and other shareholders and the bid was later raised to 116 crowns.

Elliott and the rest of the top 10 shareholders all decided to tender their shares after the bid was raised and PMI had secured over 83 per cent approval by the end of the initial offer period in early November.

Shortly afterwards, the remaining opponents of the deal, who included Framtiden, with a roughly 1 per cent stake, and Bronte Capital, which owned less than 1 per cent, also tendered their shares.

By Swedish law a bidder can initiate a compulsory redemption of remaining shares if voluntary acceptance is above 90 per cent.