MRHLD: 1,687 -7 (-0.41%)
Independent board advises Murray & Roberts shareholders to reject ATON bid
JOHANNESBURG, April 20 (Reuters) - South Africa construction
company Murray & Roberts (M&R) said on Friday that an
independent board had recommended that its shareholders reject a
takeover bid by Germany's ATON, the latest rebuff to the
M&R reported interim profits that more than doubled, in part
due to higher earnings from its underground mining activities, a
sign of an upswing in the commodities sector which has made it
an attractive target.
"It was clear to the Independent Board upfront that ATONís
approach was opportunistic and timed to coincide with
unprecedented weakness in the companyís share price," M&R said
in a statement.
"The Independent Board, having taken the advice of (an)
independent expert, communicated to shareholders its view that
the ATON offer materially undervalued the strategic platforms
and business prospects of Murray & Roberts," it said.
M&R's biggest shareholder German investor Lutz Helmig's
ATON, which owns more than a third of the South African group,
made a buyout offer of 15 rand ($1.25) per share for M&R last
month valuing the company at close to $600 million.
M&R rejected the bid saying it undervalued the company and
its second biggest shareholder, South Africa's Public Investment
Corporation, has also snubbed the overture. An independent
report has shown that a fair offer for the company would be as
much as 22 rand per share.
The company's share price closed at 15.20 rand on Thursday,
almost double its 2018 low of 8.70 rand hit on March 22. When
the planned buyout was announced on March 26, Murray & Roberts'
share price was close to a two-year low, according to Thomson
($1 = 11.9847 rand)
(Reporting by Ed Stoddard
Editing by Edmund Blair)
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