Montedison SpA’s board met yesterday afternoon to examine the take-over bid that the Fiat and Electricit�e France-led consortium Italenergia will launch for the industrial holding company and its energy affiliate Edison SpA. It had been expected to call a shareholder meeting but instead issued a rejection of the 5 bn Euro bid by Italenergia saying that the offer price had been calculated incorrectly and that the request for a shareholder meeting lacked the necessary paperwork.

On Tuesday, Fiat said it expected Italenergia’s take-over bid for Montedison and Edison to be launched in the second half of July after approval by stock market authority Consob for its offer of 2.82 Euro per share for Montedison and 11.60 for Edison.

Italenergia comprises the following companies: 38.61 per cent Fiat; 20.01 per cent Carlo Tassara SpA; 18.03 per cent Electricite de France; 9.55 per cent Banca di Roma SpA; 7.81 per cent NHS, a holding company controlled by Sanpaolo IMI SpA; and 5.99 per cent IntesaBci SpA.

Italenergia has 52 per cent of Montedison’s stock and wishes to appoint a new board to replace the present boardroom makeup, which is dominated by representatives of Mediobanca, the investment bank that owns 14.5 per cent.

Despite the delaying tactics, Montedison appear powerless to avoid the take-over in which Fiat has provided a entry route for French state-owned power group EdF to gain a foothold in the Italian power market.