5 Sep 2023 14:46

Kernel CEO Verevsky buys $59 mln in new shares, boosts stake to 93.7%

MOSCOW. Sept 5 (Interfax) - Namsen Limited, controlled by Andrei Verevsky, the majority shareholder and head of the Ukrainian agricultural holding Kernel, bought 212,634,916 shares from the company's offering of 216 million additional shares existing shareholders who are qualified investors.

Ukrainian media quoted the holding as saying the purchase price was $0.2777 per share, implying that Verevsky spent $59.05 million on the shares in a deal carried out on September 1.

Kernel said the additional shares "will be kept in registered form and will not be admitted to trading on any stock exchange."

Kernel's share price fell 18.74% to PLN8.96 per share on the Warsaw Stock Exchange on Monday after the results of the share offering were announced. This was the lowest the shares have been since the company's IPO in 2007, when they were sold to investors for PLN24 each.

Shares in Kernel fell 6.4% on the Warsaw Stock Exchange on August 28, the last day for bids in the $60 million share offering, and 20.2% in the week since the announcement of the offering.

Kernel raised $59.983 million with the share offering for existing shareholders who are qualified investors. In the prospectus for the new placement, Kernel allowed the sale of up to 216 million new shares, which, together with other terms of the offer, led minority shareholders to suspect that Andrei Verevsky was trying to dilute their stake.

Verevsky increased his stake in Kernel from 41.3% to 74.05% or 62,222,460 shares on May 12 after buying 30,248,449 shares at PLN18.5 each or about $136.1 million in total as part of a buyback and delisting from the WSE.

Kernel says on its website that Kernel Holding SA (Luxembourg) has 300,031,023 issued ordinary shares, the par value of which was not specified, carrying 293,429,023 votes. Namsen Ltd owns 91.61% of the authorized capital or 93.67% of voting shares and the free float is 6.19%, or 6.33%.

The company now awaiting the Polish regulator's decision on the delisting application, which is opposed by a number of minority shareholders.