April 9, 2020 at 9:30 am
NOT FOR RELEASE, PUBLICATION OR DISTRIBUTION, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN OR INTO THE UNITED STATES, AUSTRALIA, CANADA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, NEW ZEALAND, SINGAPORE OR SOUTH AFRICA OR ANY OTHER JURISDICTION IN WHICH THE DISTRIBUTION OR RELEASE WOULD BE UNLAWFUL.
Aspo considers issuance of new capital securities and announces voluntary tender offer for its outstanding capital securities issued in 2016
Aspo Plc (“Aspo” or the “Company” and together with its subsidiaries “Aspo Group”) is considering issuance of capital securities (hybrid bond) in the amount of minimum EUR 15 million (the “New Capital Securities”). Aspo (the “Offeror”) also announces a voluntary cash tender offer (“Tender Offer”) for its outstanding EUR 25 million 6.750 percent capital securities issued on May 27, 2016 (ISIN: FI4000210240) (the “2016 Capital Securities”), earliest possible date of an early redemption option of which is May 27, 2020. The Tender Offer is made on the terms and subject to the conditions set out in the tender offer memorandum dated April 9, 2020 (the “Tender Offer Memorandum”). The reason for the transactions is to finance the partial repurchase of Aspo’s outstanding 2016 Capital Securities and for general purposes of Aspo Group.
The Offeror proposes to accept for purchase any and all of the 2016 Capital Securities validly tendered in the Tender Offer. The Offeror however reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to decide on the final acceptance amount, including not accepting any purchase of the 2016 Capital Securities. If the Offeror decides to accept for purchase 2016 Capital Securities, and the aggregate principal amount validly tendered is more than the final acceptance amount, the Offeror intends to accept such 2016 Capital Securities for purchase on a pro rata basis.
The purchase price of the 2016 Capital Securities is EUR 100,000 per note with nominal amount of EUR 100,000. Accrued and unpaid interest will be paid in respect of all the 2016 Capital Securities validly tendered and delivered and accepted for purchase.
The issuance of New Capital Securities may take place in the near future, subject to market conditions. The Company has today published preliminary financial information on the Company’s first quarter 2020 as well as preliminary information on the effects of COVID 19 pandemic to the Company. Due to the exceptional market circumstances, the Tender Offer and the issue of the New Capital Securities are contemplated to be executed during the Company’s silent period. The offer period for the Tender Offer commences on April 9, 2020 and expires on April 21, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. Finnish time (EET). The indicative tender offer results will be announced on or about April 21, 2020, and the final tender offer results and completion date will be announced as soon as feasible, but no later than April 27, 2020. The settlement date of the tender offer is expected to be no later than May 4, 2020, subject to the completion of the issue of the New Capital Securities. The completion of the Tender Offer is subject to, without limitation, the pricing and completion of the issue of the New Capital Securities.
A holder that wishes to subscribe for New Capital Securities in addition to tendering the 2016 Capital Securities for purchase pursuant to the Tender Offer may receive priority in the allocation of the New Capital Securities, subject to the terms and conditions of the Tender Offer Memorandum (the “New Issue Allocation”). The New Issue Allocation may be given for an aggregate nominal amount of the New Capital Securities up to the aggregate nominal amount of 2016 Capital Securities subject to a holder’s valid tender instruction (subject to potential proration), where an allocation of the New Capital Securities is also requested. To be eligible to receive a New Issue Allocation, a holder of 2016 Capital Securities must request a personal allocation code from the dealer manager of the Tender Offer. A holder of 2016 Capital Securities that wishes to subscribe for New Capital Securities must make an application to subscribe for such New Capital Securities to the lead manager of the issue of the New Capital Securities. OP Corporate Bank plc act as the lead manager of the issue of the New Capital Securities.
Capital securities are instruments that are subordinated to the Company’s other debt obligations and that are treated as equity in Aspo Group’s IFRS financial statements. The capital securities do not confer to their holders the rights of shareholders and do not dilute the holdings of the current shareholders.
OP Corporate Bank plc acts as dealer manager and tender agent for the Tender Offer. A copy of the Tender Offer Memorandum and information in respect of the Tender Offer may be obtained by qualifying holders of the 2016 Capital Securities from OP Corporate Bank plc: email: email@example.com / tel. +358 10 252 1668.
Borenius Attorneys Ltd acts as legal advisor to Aspo, to the dealer manager and tender agent for the Tender Offer and to the lead manager in the issue of the New Capital Securities.
Aki Ojanen, CEO
+358 9 5211, +358 400 106 592, firstname.lastname@example.org
Aspo is a conglomerate that owns and develops business operations in Northern Europe and growth markets focusing on demanding B-to-B customers. The aim of our strong corporate brands – ESL Shipping, Leipurin, Telko and Kauko – is to be the market leaders in their sectors. They are responsible for their own operations, customer relationships and the development of these. Together they generate Aspo’s goodwill. Aspo’s Group structure and business operations are developed persistently without any predefined schedules.
This announcement must be read in conjunction with the Tender Offer Memorandum, which may be obtained from OP Corporate Bank plc by, and is only available to, qualifying holders of the 2016 Capital Securities. This announcement and the Tender Offer Memorandum contain important information that should be read by the qualifying holders of the 2016 Capital Securities carefully before any decision is made with respect to the Tender Offer. If any holder is in any doubt as to the contents of this release or the Tender Offer Memorandum or the action it should take, it is recommended to seek its own financial and legal advice, including in respect of any tax consequences, from its broker, bank manager, solicitor, accountant or other independent financial, tax or legal adviser. Neither the dealer manager of the Tender Offer nor the Offeror makes any recommendation whether holders should tender 2016 Capital Securities pursuant to the Tender Offer.
None of the Offeror or any of its directors, officers, employees, agents or affiliates assumes any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information concerning Aspo, the 2016 Capital Securities or the Tender Offer contained in this release or in the Tender Offer Memorandum. None of the Offeror or any of its directors, officers, employees, agents or affiliates is acting for any holder or will be responsible to any holders for providing the protections afforded to its clients or for advising any other person in connection with the Tender Offer.
MiFID II product governance / Retail clients, professional clients and eligible counterparties target market
Solely for the purposes of the product governance requirements set forth in Directive 2014/65/EU (as amended, “MiFID II”) / MiFID II, the target market assessment made by the manufacturer in respect of the New Capital Securities has led to the conclusion that: (1) the target market for the New Capital Securities is eligible counterparties, professional clients and retail clients, each as defined in MiFID II, who are (a) informed investors, having average knowledge of relevant financial products (an informed investor can make an informed investment decision based on the regulated and authorised offering documentation, together with knowledge and understanding of the specific factors/risks highlighted with them only) or advanced investors having one, or more, of the following characteristics, (i) good knowledge of relevant financial products and transactions or (ii) financial industry experience or accompanied by professional investment advice or included in a discretionary portfolio service, (b) clients that have the ability to bear losses of up to 100 per cent. of the capital invested in the product, and who have a high risk tolerance, financial ability and willingness to put the entire capital invested at risk. Clients investing in the New Capital Securities are willing to take more risk than clients investing in deposit savings and therefore do not need a fully guaranteed income or return profile and (c) clients whose investment objective is to generate growth of the invested capital and have a medium- to long-term investment horizon. Furthermore, the manufacturer has made an assessment as to the negative target market and concluded that the negative target market for the New Capital Securities is clients that seek full capital protection or full repayment of the amount invested, are fully risk averse/have no risk tolerance or need a fully guaranteed income or fully predictable return profile. The manufacturer has made an assessment as to the distribution strategy for the New Capital Securities, and has concluded that; (2) all channels for distribution of the New Capital Securities to eligible counterparties and professional clients are appropriate; and (3) the following channels for distribution of the New Capital Securities to retail clients are appropriate: investment advice, portfolio management, and non-advised sales or execution service with appropriateness test, subject to the distributor’s suitability and appropriateness obligations under MiFID II, as applicable. Any person subsequently offering, selling or recommending the New Capital Securities (a “distributor”) should take into consideration the manufacturer’s target market assessment. However, a distributor subject to MiFID II is responsible for undertaking its own target market assessment in respect of the New Capital Securities (by either adopting or refining the manufacturer’s target market assessment) and determining appropriate distribution channels, subject to the distributor’s suitability and appropriateness obligations under MiFID II, as applicable.
Offer and Distribution Restrictions
The information contained herein is not for release, publication or distribution, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, in or into the United States, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa or any other countries or otherwise in such circumstances in which the release, publication or distribution would be unlawful. The information contained herein does not constitute an invitation to participate in the Tender Offer, or an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of, the New Capital Securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration, exemption from registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. Persons into whose possession this announcement may come are required to inform themselves of and observe all such restrictions. None of Aspo and OP Corporate Bank plc or their respective representatives accept any legal responsibility for any violation by any person, whether or not the persons contemplating investing in or divesting Aspo’s securities, including the New Capital Securities, are aware of such restrictions.
The Tender Offer is not being made, and will not be made, directly or indirectly in or into, and cannot be accepted, directly or indirectly, from, or by use of the mails of, or by any means or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce of or of any facilities of a national securities exchange of, the United States or to any U.S. Person (as defined in Regulation S under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) (each a “U.S. Person”)). This includes, but is not limited to, electronic mail, telex, telephone, the internet and other forms of electronic communication. The 2016 Capital Securities may not be tendered in the Tender Offer by any such use, means, instrumentality or facility from or within the United States or by persons located or resident in the United States or by, or by any person acting for the account or benefit of, a U.S. Person. Accordingly, copies of the Tender Offer Memorandum and any other documents or materials relating to the Tender Offer are not being, and must not be, directly or indirectly mailed or otherwise sent, transmitted, distributed or forwarded (including, without limitation, by custodians, nominees, trustees or agents) in, into or from the United States or to any persons located or resident in the United States or to any U.S. Person and persons receiving the Tender Offer Memorandum must not mail, send, transmit, distribute or forward it or any other documents or materials relating to the Tender Offer in, into or from the United States. Any person accepting the Tender Offer shall be deemed to represent to the Offeror such person’s compliance with these restrictions. Any purported acceptance of the 2016 Capital Securities in the Tender Offer resulting directly or indirectly from a breach or violation of these restrictions will be invalid and any purported tender of the 2016 Capital Securities made by, or by any person acting for the account or benefit of, a U.S. Person or by a person located in the United States or any agent, fiduciary or other intermediary acting on a nondiscretionary basis for a principal giving instructions from within the United States will be invalid and will not be accepted.
Each holder of the 2016 Capital Securities participating in the Tender Offer will represent that it is not a U.S. Person, it is not located in the United States and is not participating in the Tender Offer from the United States, or it is acting on a non-discretionary basis for a principal located outside the United States that is not giving an order to participate in the Tender Offer from the United States and is not a U.S. Person.
This announcement does not constitute an offer of securities for sale in the United States. The New Capital Securities have not been and will not be registered under the Securities Act or under the applicable securities laws of any state of the United States and may not be offered or sold, directly or indirectly, within the United States or to, or for the account or benefit of, U.S. persons except pursuant to an applicable exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act.
The communication of this announcement, the Tender Offer Memorandum and any other documents or materials relating to the Tender Offer is not being made, and such documents and/or materials have not been approved, by an authorised person for the purposes of section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, as amended. Furthermore, this announcement does not constitute an offer of the New Capital Securities to the public in the United Kingdom. No prospectus has been or will be approved in the United Kingdom in respect of the New Capital Securities. Accordingly, such documents and/or materials are not being distributed to, and must not be passed on to, the general public in the United Kingdom. The communication of such documents and/or materials as a financial promotion may only be distributed to and is only directed at (i) persons who are outside the United Kingdom or (ii) investment professionals falling within Article 19(5) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (the “Order”) or (iii) high net worth companies, and other persons to whom it may lawfully be communicated, falling within Article 49(2)(a) to (d) of the Order (all such persons in (i), (ii) and (iii) above together being referred to as “Relevant Persons”). Any invitation, offer or agreement to subscribe, purchase or otherwise acquire such securities will be engaged in only with, Relevant Persons. Any person who is not a Relevant Person should not act or rely on such documents and/or materials or any of their contents.
European Economic Area
This announcement has been prepared on the basis that all offers of the New Capital Securities in the EEA will be made pursuant to an exemption under the Regulation (EU) 2017/1129 of the European Parliament and of the Council (as amended, the “Prospectus Regulation”) from the requirement to produce a prospectus under the Prospectus Regulation for offers of securities, and in particular, any offer of the New Capital Securities to retail investors will be made pursuant to the exemption set out in Article 1(4)(d) of the Prospectus Regulation. Accordingly, any person making or intending to make any offer of the New Capital Securities within the EEA should only do so in circumstances in which no obligation arises for Aspo or OP Corporate Bank plc to publish a prospectus under the Prospectus Regulation for such offer. Neither Aspo nor OP Corporate Bank plc has authorised, nor do they authorise, the making of any offer of securities through any financial intermediary.
In relation to each member state of the EEA, an offer to the public of any New Capital Securities may not be made in that member state of the EEA, except that an offer of the New Capital Securities to the public may be made at any time under the following exemptions from the Prospectus Regulation:
(a) to any legal entity which is a qualified investor as defined in the Prospectus Regulation;
(b) to fewer than 150 natural or legal persons (other than qualified investors as defined in the Prospectus Regulation); or
(c) in any other circumstances falling within Article 1(4) of the Prospectus Regulation,
provided that no such offer of the New Capital Securities shall result in a requirement for the publication of a prospectus pursuant to Article 3 of the Prospectus Regulation by Aspo or OP Corporate Bank plc.
For the purposes of herein, the expression an “offer to the public” in relation to any of the New Capital Securities in any Relevant Member State means the communication in any form and by any means of sufficient information on the terms of the offer of the New Capital Securities to be offered so as to enable an investor to decide to purchase any of the New Capital Securities.