Investors dive into Murray & Roberts as Germany's Aton makes takeover bid

Johannesburg – Shares in Murray & Roberts jumped by 47% in early afternoon trade on Monday, after a proposed bid was announced for the SA engineering and mining contractor by German investment holdings company Aton GmbH.

Shares in Murray & Roberts [JSE:MUR] were up 48.34%, trading at R14.30 per share on Monday at 12:30.

Aton currently owns 29.9% of the group's share capital.

Aton’s proposed offer includes first buying 13.7 million additional shares. If completed, this would raise Aton's holdings in Murray & Roberts to approximately 33.1%.

The German firm intends to make the firm offer at R15 a share to all the group's shareholders, Murray & Roberts said in a stock exchange announcement on Monday.  This is over 50% above the JSE-listed group's closing share price on Friday. 

“The offer provides M&R shareholders with an opportunity to realise value in cash and to divest of their M&R shares at a premium, which is also attractive considering the low trading volumes in M&R shares on the JSE,” Aton said in a statement. 

Murray & Roberts’ fund manager Allan Gray has supported Aton’s decision to acquire the shares, stated the media statement.

Allan Gray has given Aton an "irrevocable undertaking" to sell the 10.9% of the group's shares it owns. If Aton buys these shares, it would then own 44% of Murray & Roberts' share capital. 

An independent board of Murray & Roberts will, however, first review Aton’s proposition.

"Once the independent board has concluded its review of the proposed Aton offer, a further announcement will be made," it said. 

Shareholders have been advised to wait on the correspondence of the board before they accept any offers.

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