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NSF accuses takeover target Provident Financial of trying to stoke 'unwarranted fear'

NSF, which is headed by Provident’s ex-boss John Van Kuffeler, insisted that it has a “robust capital position”.
Provident financial
NSF launched its £1.3bn unsolicited offer earlier this year

Non-Standard Finance PLC (LON:NSF) has accused its hostile takeover target, Provident Financial PLC (LON:PFG), of trying to “stoke unwarranted fear and deflect from its own enduring failings”.

Provident on Wednesday said a review of NSF’s historical financial disclosures had uncovered a series of concerns, including a poor capital position and statutory losses since the business was founded.

READ: Provident Financial shareholder Schroders to vote against hostile takeover bid from NSF

In response to the statement, NSF said on Friday that these concerns are “completely unfounded”, based on “false premises” and founded on “incorrect assumptions”.

NSF says capital position is robust 

NSF, which is headed by Provident’s ex-boss John Van Kuffeler and launched its £1.3bn unsolicited offer earlier this year, insisted that it has a “robust capital position”.

Van Kuffeler said: "Provident's recent announcements simply reinforce what we have been saying for some time: Provident is either unwilling or unable to address its own failings and will go to extreme lengths to deflect from its own shortcomings.

“Instead of focusing on its customers, employees and shareholders, Provident has dedicated itself to performing financial analysis which is complete nonsense and which seems designed to spread unfounded fears.

“Our plan is clear and robust and we look forward to delivering it for the benefit of all of Provident's customers, employees and shareholders."

NSF pointed out that Provident’s board has presided over multiple profit warnings, serious regulatory mismanagement and a lack of vision for the future of the business.

Provident again urges shareholders to vote against deal

Provident released another statement on Friday urging shareholders to vote against the takeover approach.

The group highlighted that NSF has only secured 2% of incremental acceptances from Provident shareholders since the bid was launched, beyond those that had already commited to support the deal at the time it was put forward.  

Provident believes that is a “clear signal that the offer has significant flaws”.

Schroders, which has a 14.6% stake in Provident, has said would not accept NSF’s offer as it does not believe it is in the best interest of shareholders.

However, shareholders, Woodford, Invesco and Marathon have indicated they would support the deal.

Provident said as of May 7, some 96% of shares held by independent shareholders have not voted on the bid.

Its board said: "Shares held by independent shareholders means the Provident shares other than those held by Woodford Investment Management Limited, Invesco Asset Management Limited and Marathon Asset Management LLP for which they provided irrevocable undertakings and letters of intent to accept the offer as at 29 April 2019 and independent shareholders shall be construed accordingly.”

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