Warning over off-market offers

The New South Wales Government has joined the Australian Securities & Investments Commission in warning investors to be wary about below-market offers for their shares from National Exchange Proprietary.

The Fair Trading Minister said the company has now sent letters to AMP investors offering $7.50 per share for their holdings, exclusive of brokerage and other charges, but $4 below the current trading price. Anyone taking up the offer would be well out of pocket and the Government is concerned that small investors with little share trading experience are being targeted.

Similar offers have been made by National Exchange recently for shares in Axa Asia Pacific and Insurance Australia Group. The NSW Government and ASIC say that such offers to shareholders are not illegal but urge investors to be very cautious about accepting them.