(Bloomberg) -- Swiss industrial company Georg Fischer AG has made the strongest bid so far for Uponor Oyj by offering €28.85 ($31) per share to acquire the Finnish plumbing-equipment manufacturer.

Schaffhausen, Switzerland-based Georg Fischer said the board of directors of Uponor recommends that the shareholders accept the offer, which represents a 12% premium over a rejected offer by Belgium’s Aliaxis SA. The total equity value of the deal is about €2.1 billion ($2.3 billion).

Uponor shares gained as much as 8.6% to €29.84 in the Finnish capital on Monday while Georg Fischer’s stock price advanced 3.3% in Zurich. 

In May, Bloomberg News reported the Swiss company was exploring a potential offer for the Finnish manufacturer. That followed an improved €1.9 billion cash offer from Aliaxis, which had been rejected as being too low. The Belgian firm made a first approach in May 2022 and eventually went public with its interest after negotiations failed to lead to an agreement.

Read More: Aliaxis Boosts Uponor Stake to 20% Amid Opposition for Takeover

“The two companies have complementary products and geographical footprints, similar cultures and a common ESG commitment,” said Yves Serra, chair of Georg Fischer’s board of directors.

Uponor’s largest shareholder —  Oras Invest Oy with a 25.7% stake — also supports the offer as it “would preserve Uponor’s identity while creating a global leader in water supply applications,” it said in a separate statement. Oras Invest also said it aims to become a shareholder in Georg Fischer and may buy shares in the company.

In total, Uponor shareholders accounting for 36.9% of the company support the improved bid, which is conditional on Georg Fischer having gained control of more than 50% of the shares.

Given the levels of support from Uponor shareholders, “we therefore consider the chances high that the transaction will take place,” wrote Zuercher Kantonalbank analyst Walter Bamert in a note.

However, Aliaxis is not out of the running yet, according to Juho Saarinen, an analyst at OP Group in Helsinki. “It is still possible that there will be new offers for the company,” he said in a note.

Georg Fischer said it secured the financing for the offer through a combination of existing cash and bank facilities. In addition, the company plans to issue 8 million Georg Fischer shares. UBS Group AG is advising the Swiss company on the transaction.

--With assistance from Allegra Catelli.

(Adds share price, OP analyst comment. A previous version of the story was corrected with spelling of Aliaxis.)

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