Murray and Roberts takeover hangs on 56% of shareholders



Murray and Roberts takeover hangs on 56% of shareholders

German company Aton already owns 44% of SA construction group, so the stakes are running high

Mark Allix

About 56% of Murray & Roberts (M&R) shareholders are holding out on Aton’s R17 a share offer for the JSE-listed construction group. Which way they will go no one can tell.
There are many variables at work, not least M&R’s subsequently announced proposed tie-up with Aveng. Now that the German family investment firm owns 44% of M&R, it does not have much further to go to gain a majority shareholding.However, amid fears of what might happen to M&R thereafter — it has been suggested that Aton only wants M&R’s Cementation global mining business — the Public Investment Corporation, which holds a big chunk of the group, remains unmoved, saying the bid still undervalues M&R.
Coronation Fund Managers, which holds a large stake in Aveng, says a possible tie-up between M&R and Aveng looks attractive, as it might bind the best of both groups’ businesses into a single entity.
One thing is certain, though. The Aveng announcement has upped the stakes for all shareholders. M&R suggests that Aton might soon be brought around to the idea that an M&R and Aveng tie-up could be good for everybody. But by all accounts the Germans have rejected this notion out of hand.
Meanwhile, Aveng has confirmed its intention to launch a renounceable rights offer of up to R500-million to raise cash to fund internal liquidity requirements. This is already a part of a possible M&R and Aveng transaction.

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