Nautronix finds Scottish white knight

Mark Patterson's time as a Nautronix director of operations in the North Sea seems to have paid off after he brought a Scottish rescue bid to the Fremantle-based marine supplier.

No doubt, if the bid succeeds, Mr Patterson will become CEO of Nautronix.

Scotland's First Tech, which is owned by oil entrepreneur, Mr Ian Suttie, has made a 67c per share or $45.49 million tilt at Nautronix. Nautronix directors originally advised shareholders to accept Odim Hitec's original offer of 65 cents per share in the absence of a higher bid but have reversed their decision.

They recommend shareholders reject the bid unless the Norwegian group satisfies the outstanding conditions or extends the offer.

Both bids face a more than cursory examination from the Foreign Investment Review Board because Nautronix's is a supplier to the Royal Australian Navy.

Nautronix has forecast a net profit of $5.1 million for 2001-02 despite posting a loss of $52,000 last financial year. At the time of writing, Nautronix shares gained four cents to 65 cents.

Mr Ian Suttie is a well-known North Sea oil entrepreneur and one of Scotland's richest individuals. This year he sold his majority owned oilfield services company, Orwell Group, for $278 million and remains chairman and controlling shareholder of First Oil.

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