Nordion shareholders vote to approve Sterigenics deal

The Canadian Press ~ OBJ
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Medical isotope supplier Nordion Inc. says shareholders have approved the purchase of the company by Sterigenics for US$811 million.

(Stock image)

The approval follows a move from Illinois-based Sterigenics earlier this week to raise its offer to US$13 per share, up from US$12.25. It was the second increase to the bid, which began at US$11.75.

According to Nordion, the deal was approved by 76.37 per cent of the voted shares.

Shareholders were to vote on the earlier offer last week, but the meeting was postponed after it became apparent the deal wouldn't receive the required two-thirds majority approval.

It was the second time the vote was delayed after proxy results suggested it would fall short of the mark.

Nordion (TSX:NDN) is a supplier of medical isotopes, used for certain types of medical imaging. It also provides sterilization technologies for several industries.

The offer of US$13 per share followed an unsolicited offer of US$12.50 last week from an unidentified third party that had earlier made an offer of US$12.25.

While the deal will see Nordion delisted from the TSX and NASDAQ, the firm is expected to continue operating under its name and as a separate entity within Sterigenics.

While Nordion has recorded profits in recent quarters, there are questions about the company’s ability to stay in the medical isotope business. Its contract with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., its isotope supplier, ends in 2016 and will not be extended, since AECL intends to stop producing isotopes. Efforts to find a replacement supplier have been unsuccessful.

The medical isotope business accounted for more than 50 per cent of Nordion’s revenue during the most recent quarter.

The sale comes as a result of a strategic review the company began in January 2013, triggered by a $43.5-million loss during the fourth quarter of its 2012 fiscal year.

That process led to the company selling its TheraSphere business, which sold a targeted cancer therapy, in May 2013.

The company said Friday it will now seek court approval for the deal on June 11. The deal remains subject to several closing conditions, including court and regulator approvals.

– With files from OBJ staff

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