Mercia Asset Management PLC declares The City Code applies to the Company.

Mandatory bid

The City Code applies to the Company. Under Rule 9 of the City Code, if:

(i) a person acquires an interest in Ordinary Shares which, when taken together with Ordinary Shares, already held by them or persons acting in concert with them, carry 30 per cent or more of the voting rights in the Company; or

(ii) a person who, together with persons acting in concert with them, is interested in not less than 30 per cent and not more than 50 per cent of the voting rights in the Company, acquires additional interests in Ordinary Shares, which increase the percentage of Ordinary Shares carrying voting rights in which that person is interested, the acquirer and, depending on the circumstances, its concert parties, would be required (except with the consent of the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers) to make a cash offer for the outstanding Ordinary Shares, at a price not less than the highest price paid for any interests in the Ordinary Shares, by the acquirer or its concert parties during the previous twelve months.

Compulsory acquisition

Under Sections 974 – 991 of the Act, if an offeror acquires or contracts to acquire (pursuant to a takeover offer) not less than 90 per cent of the shares (in value and by voting rights), to which such offer relates, it may then compulsorily acquire the outstanding shares not assented to the offer. It would do so by sending a notice to outstanding holders of shares telling them that it will compulsorily acquire their shares and then, six weeks later, it would execute a transfer of the outstanding shares in its favour and pay the consideration to the Company, which would hold the consideration on trust for the outstanding holders of shares. The consideration offered to the holders whose shares are compulsorily acquired under the Act must, in general, be the same as the consideration that was available under the takeover offer.

In addition, pursuant to Section 983 of the Act, if an offeror acquires or agrees to acquire not less than 90 per cent of the shares (in value and by voting rights) to which the offer relates, any holder of shares to which the offer relates who has not accepted the offer may require the offeror to acquire their shares on the same terms as the takeover offer.

The offeror would be required to give any holder of shares notice of their right to be bought out within one month of that right arising. Sell-out rights cannot be exercised after the end of the period of three months from the last date on which the offer can be accepted or, if later, three months from the date on which the notice is served on the holder of shares notifying them of their sell-out rights. If a holder of shares exercises its rights, the offeror is bound to acquire those shares on the terms of the takeover offer or on such other terms as may be agreed.

The Board has established an Audit and Risk Committee, a Remuneration Committee and a Nominations Committee, with formally delegated duties and responsibilities.