Roy Cokayne

Murray & Roberts (M&R), the listed construction and engineering group, has sold its wholly owned steel pipe manufacturing business, Hall Longmore, to private company Afgate Properties (Pietersburg) for R444 million.

M&R yesterday reported it had concluded the disposal of Hall Longmore but did not disclose the identity of the buyer.

The Competition Commission confirmed yesterday it had approved the transaction last week, but with employment conditions, because the proposed transaction would result in job losses. In terms of these conditions, the number of job losses at Hall Longmore was reduced to 95 from 178.

The commission said it had not received evidence suggesting the proposed transaction would raise public interest concern.

Ed Jardim, M&R’s group communications executive, said Hall Longmore’s fixed assets were sold for R444m, its net book value.

Hall Longmore was the only remaining company to be disposed of in M&R’s original Construction Products Africa operating platform.

The majority of the businesses in this platform were disposed of on June 28 last year. These businesses realised a R1.3 billion profit on disposal for M&R, which was largely responsible for the group’s attributable profit rocketing by 176 percent to R724m from R262m in the six months to December.

M&R shares fell 1.30 percent yesterday to close at R22.70.