HC Deb 11 February 1982 vol 17 cc448-9W
Mr. Lee

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will make a further statement on the disposal of Amersham International.

Mr. John Moore

I told the House on 22 December 1981 that the Government had decided to offer shares in Amersham International Limited for sale to the general public.

I am now pleased to be able to tell the House that arrangements have been made today to offer on the Stock Exchange all the shares of Amersham International at a price of 142p per share, which implies a market capitalisation of £71 million.

Copies of the prospectus and the application form will be available on Monday 15 February in the City of London and from certain branches of the National Westminster Bank in several cities in Scotland, Wales and England, and from a branch of the Ulster Bank in Belfast. The prospectus or abridged particulars will also appear in a number of national and provincial newspapers on Sunday and Monday.

The Government believe that it will be in the best interests of the nation and the company for Amersham to continue its development as an independent private sector company with a wide spread of ownership by the public. Therefore, the articles of association have been drawn up to limit any single shareholding to 15 per cent. of the equity, and to include other related provisions. Any proposed change to those provisions will require the Secretary of State's consent. He will have no other rights, because it is not the Government's wish to influence the conduct of Amersham's business.

The Government will be offering United Kingdom employees the opportunity to acquire shares in the company. Each employee will be offered free of cost shares to the value of approximately £50. Also, for every share purchased by an employee he or she may apply for one additional share free up to a value of £500 per employee. Under these arrangements therefore the benefits which the Government will provide to employees will depend on the level of their applications but will be limited to a total of £386,000. If the offer as a whole is over-subscribed employees will also receive preference in the allocation of any further shares they wish to buy.

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