The war of words between Australian autoparts company Bapcor and its takeover target, Hellaby Holdings, is continuing, with Hellaby's independent chairman writing to shareholders accusing it of attempting to discredit the independent report prepared by Grant Samuel.

Shares in Hellaby have traded as low as $3.20 today, the lowest price since the takeover was announced at $3.30 a share in September. By mid-afternoon, they were trading at $3.23, down 2.71 percent on yesterday's closing price. They've risen 12.93 percent since the start of the year.

In a letter to Hellaby shareholders made public earlier this week, Bapcor said Grant Samuel had incorrectly excluded Hellaby's corporate head office costs from its valuation, and if it had included this, it would give a target price range of $3.18 to $3.64.

The Victoria-based company's bid values Hellaby at $322.5 million and Bapcor has hinted the price could rise. In its independent report prepared for Hellaby and published at the start of the month, Grant Samuel valued Hellaby shares at $3.60 to $4.12. They had traded at $3.03 prior to the takeover bid being made public.


ASX-listed Bapcor had sought a meeting of the Takeovers Panel to look into alleged breaches of the Takeovers Code by Hellaby and Grant Samuel, but this was declined.

Steve Smith, Hellaby's independent chairman has now responded to Bapcor's criticism of Grant Samuel. In his letter, he said Hellaby "reject Bapcor's views as without merit".

"Grant Samuel's opinion is honestly held, independently assessed and reasonably based. Bapcor is not gaining traction with its offer. As at the date of writing this letter, it has only received 123,901 shares or 0.1 percent more in additional acceptances, over the original acceptances it started with five weeks ago," he added.

Salt Funds Management, Accident Compensation Corp and Hugh Green Holdings' Castle Investments had all agreed lock-ups with Bapcor prior to the takeover offer becoming public, securing Bapcor almost 30 percent of the NZX-listed firm.