First Pacific Co said today (Monday) that it had scrapped its takeover plan for Del Monte Pacific after the pineapple canner’s second-largest shareholder exercised its pre- emptive right, reports the Dow Jones news agency.

Hong Kong-listed First Pacific said last month it would purchase nearly 40% of Del Monte from Rome-based Cirio Fiananziaria S.p.A for US$163.6m. The acquisition would have triggered a mandatory general offer to acquire the rest of the shares in Del Monte for about US$248.3m.

But Del Monte’s second-largest shareholder Macondray & Co. Inc. has exercised its right of refusal, thwarting First Pacific’s bid.

“Since MCI has exercised its right to acquire Cirio’s stake in Del Monte Pacific, under these circumstances, we are unable to proceed with our offer,” Manuel Pangilinan, chief executive of First Pacific, said in a statement sent to Dow Jones.

“With a strong balance sheet and healthy returns on our existing investments in the Philippines and Indonesia, we will continue to seek and pursue other value-accretive acquisition opportunities,” he said.

First Pacific spokeswoman Sara Cheung said the firm could not  raise its offer price or take steps to boost its takeover bid because of MCI’s pre-emptive right.

Last week MCI, controlled by the Philippines’ Lorenzo family, agreed to sell around 538 million Del Monte Pacific shares, or about 49.76% of the company, to NutriAsia Pacific Ltd. The stake includes 310.8 million shares that MCI Thursday purchased from Del Monte Holdings Ltd., which is part of the Cirio Finanziaria group.

NutriAsia Inc., which is majority-owned by the family of Philippine businessman Joselito Campos, owns 58% of the joint venture, while food and beverage conglomerate San Miguel Corp controls the remaining 42%. The Campos group is engaged in the condiments and sauces business.

Del Monte Pacific owns the Del Monte brand in the Philippines, and holds exclusive rights to produce and distribute food and beverage products under the Del Monte brand in India.