Argentinean-Israeli billionaire Eduardo Elsztain has been warned by the Falkland Islands Government to back away from acquiring FIC – Falkland Islands Company, amid fears of an Argentine commercial takeover of the disputed British colony.
Founded 165 years ago FIC is a dominant business in the British archipelago. The company owns vital supply routes and stores , swathes of land, and plays a central role in the fishing and oil industries.
In March, Eduardo Elsztain’s Dolphin Fund, a Buenos Aires based company, said that it was considering an bid for listed on London’s AIM stock market FIC’s parent company, FIH Group. This announce was made after the company was put into play as a takeover target by its biggest shareholder, Staunton Holdings, which valued FIH Group at around £37 million.
The bid talks arouse fright among Falkland residents who fear an Argentine commercial conquest. A letter sent by the Falkland Islands Government to FIH Group’s CEO, released to the stock market in London, said that it could effectively strip FIC of its land and trading rights if the real estate mogul gains control.
Today FIC does not require a licence to own land and operate in Falkland Islands. If control changes, the authorities may lift the exemption if it “was considered to no longer be in the general interests of the country. FIC would “then require a licence from the government to obtain any qualifying interest in land.”
The independent directors of the company have called rival interest from Eduardo Elsztain “unwelcome” and a “real hazard” given the threat it poses to FIC’s ability to own land and trade. They turned down his request for information on the company.
The battle continues. Dolphin’s London financial advisers Arden Partners said they were aware of the letter from the Falkland Islands Government but declined to comment on it.
According to British Telegraph, the independent directors of the company have called rival interest from Eduardo Elsztain “unwelcome” and a “real hazard” given the threat it poses to FIC’s ability to own land and trade. They turned down his request for information on the company.
Eduardo Elsztain is one of Argentina’s wealthiest businessman. He is the controlling shareholder in Israel’s IDB Holding Corp. Ltd., which controls Shufersal Ltd., Cellcom Israel Ltd., Property and Building Ltd. and many more Israeli companies.