In 2012, Ruralco Holdings, then Elders’ largest shareholder, initiated discussions to merge Ruralco with Elders’ rural services business.
However the offer was rejected by Elders Limited, which instead embarked on a plan to return the company to a ‘pure play’ rural services business. Non-core assets such as forestry and automotive businesses were sold in a bid to relieve high debt levels.
Earlier this year Elders shares surged by almost 50pc from 13c to 20c after the company announced an improved half year result, a $10 million loss which compared to a $303m loss in the corresponding period last year.
Its share price rose again from 21c to 26c early last week after the board announced a $57 million equity raising and debt reduction plan.
In a statement to the ASX on Friday Ruralco Holdings announced it had sold its 54,029,638 ordinary shares in Elders for $12.4m.
The previous day insurance giant QBE lodged an announced with the ASX confirming that it also had ceased to be a substantial shareholder of Elders, following a sell down of its 10.23pc stake to 6pc over a three month period between March and May and a dilution due to a rights offering by Elders Limited.
Elders shares were priced at 19c at the close of ASX trading on Friday.