Mystery surrounds rumours of a sale of a major stake in New Britain Palm Oil (NBPO) and what it could mean after the firm released a vague statement.
NBPO was responding to media speculation that its major shareholder Kulim (Malaysia) Bernhad was considering the sale of a 48.97% stake in the business.
In its statement, it said its board was unable to comment on the status of any discussions between Kulim and other parties.
Change of control
It added it did not know if such discussions would result either in a change of control of the company or a formal takeover offer for all or part of its issued shares.
However, it did make clear that a purchase of more than 20% of the business would constitute a takeover offer and that all shareholders would then be open to lodging competing bids.
NBPO is based in Papua New Guinea and has 12 oil mills, plus two refineries, one of which is based in Liverpool in the UK. All its palm oil suppliers are certified sustainable according to Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil standards.
In its first quarter results, issued in May, the company reported group revenue up 15% to $168.8M (£99.5M). Pre-tax profit had increased from $4.8M (£2.8M) to $21.4M (£12.6M), it said.