Leading optical glass maker Hoya Corp. said Monday its board of directors will continue negotiating its takeover bid with Pentax Corp. through the end of May to give the camera maker, which scrapped an earlier stock-swap merger plan, more time to respond.

Meeting in the morning, Hoya directors, most of whom are outside members, voted for the extended talks, the firm said in a statement.

Hoya said it will try to persuade Pentax to accept the takeover plan offering 770 yen per share and launch the bid after June. But the tender offer will be made only if the Pentax board agrees to it, the company said, underscoring that the takeover will not be hostile.

“We still believe that the two firms are the best partners for each other and will continue working toward integrating our management to achieve the objectives and ideals of the merger agreed by the both sides,” Hoya said in the statement.

The two firms announced in late December that they would merge this October via a share swap, but Pentax backed out April 10 due to opposition from most of its board members and major shareholders about the merger ratio.

Pentax appointed Takashi Watanuki as president to replace Fumio Urano, who had spearheaded the merger talks. Pentax board members were reportedly concerned that the planned merger would proceed under Hoya’s initiative, leading to a drastic reorganization at Pentax.

On April 7 — just before Pentax officially scrapped the planned merger — Hoya alternatively proposed making a takeover bid for Pentax.

Under the basic agreement between the two firms announced in December, Pentax is not allowed to enter alliance talks with a company other than Hoya until the end of May.

At a top-level meeting last week, Pentax reportedly asked Hoya to allow it to have more time to consider the takeover plan and to hold tieup talks with other firms.

Pentax’s move is widely seen as waiting until after June so it will be able to start negotiating with other companies on possible alliances.

Hoya reported earnings Monday for its 2006 business year, which ended March 31, posting a 10.3 percent rise in net profit from the previous year to a record 83.4 billion yen on sales of 390 billion yen, up 13.3 percent.

Operating profit rose to a record 107.2 billion yen, up 6.1 percent from a year earlier. Operating profit and sales were at their highest levels for the fifth consecutive year, while net profit was at a record high for the fourth straight year.

Hoya attributed its strong performance to brisk demand for its chip-making equipment, eyeglasses and optical lenses in overseas markets.

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