By James Wells

MELBOURNE: Bell IXL Investments announced today that after almost five months of trying to acquire 20 per cent of Betta Stores Limited (BSL), it is unlikely to reach its intended goal before this month’s closing date after obtaining just 3.7 per cent of the company.

Bell IXL managing director, Massimo Cellante said today in the company’s second annual report for the 12 months to 30 June, that it was unlikely to obtain the shares in BSL, which like Bell IXL is also listed on the Newcastle Stock Exchange (NSX).

“On 14 June 2006 the company made an offer to purchase up to 7,746,294 fully paid ordinary shares in Betta Stores Limited,” Cellante said in the statement.

“The company has offered 18 cents in cash plus one fully paid ordinary share in the capital of the company for every three shares in Betta. The offer will close at 5:00 pm on Thursday 19 October 2006. To date the company has received valid acceptances of the offer in respect of 229,125 shares in Betta and as a result the company will pay $13,747.50 and issue 76,375 fully paid ordinary shares to the accepting shareholders.

“If the offer was to be fully accepted then the company would be required to pay a further $451,030.14 and issue an additional 2,505,723 fully paid ordinary shares to the accepting shareholders. The company believes that it is unlikely that any further significant acceptances will be received. It is the view of the company that the contingent liability arising under the offer is wholly offset by the value of the shares to be acquired under the offer.”

Included within the financial assets of Bell IXL at 30 June 2006 is an amount of $182,063 for 1,137,891 shares purchased in BSL, which values each share at 16 cents – the value of the shares during the company’s trading halt on the NSX.

Yesterday, BSL shares traded as low as six cents each, which would re-value this investment at approximately $68,200.

“At balance date trading in Betta Stores Limited shares had been halted pending the lodgement of financial information with the Stock Exchange of Newcastle Limited,” Cellante said in his annual report.

“The directors formed the view that it was appropriate, having regard to all the circumstances, to calculate value of the investment held by the company by reference to the last sale price of Betta Stores Limited shares prior to the imposition of the trading halt. The last sale price of Betta Stores Limited shares was less than the average cost per share paid by the company.”