Murray & Roberts advertising board.
DURBAN - Murray and Roberts (M&R) said yesterday that it was reviewing the mandatory offer from Aton, in which the German investment holding firm upped its acquisition price to R17 a share.

M&R said it had received the mandatory offer and that its independent board was reviewing it with its advisers.

“In terms of the new timetable for the mandatory offer, the independent board is required to post a new response circular in terms of Section 120 of the Companies Act, 2008, by no later than Monday, July 2,” the group said. M&R said the board remained reluctant to accept the new offer price, as its share price had traded higher than the R17 a share Aton is proposing.

“The share price of Murray & Roberts ordinary shares has traded consistently above R17 and as high as R19.25 since the start of this week,” M&R said yesterday.

The group said the independent board had advised shareholders to take no immediate action on the offer.

“Shareholders are advised that they will still have 10 business days to accept the mandatory offer once it has been declared unconditional by Aton. The independent board will continue to provide updates and further guidance to Murray & Roberts shareholders,” the group said.

Aton holds a 39.8percent stake of the JSE-listed engineering and construction group.

Earlier, Aton disputed the board’s assessment of the R17 share offer as being too low.

The deal between the companies has been further complicated by M&R’s proposed acquisition of Aveng for R1billion.

Aton said there was no clear strategic benefit for the acquisition, except to frustrate its offer, as Aveng had reported a loss of R6.7bn and a loss of R346million in the first half of 2018.

M&R shares declined 2.06percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R17.63.