Amec fights off pounds 360m Norwegian bid

RUSSELL HOTTEN

Amec has won its acrimonius battle against Kvaerner's pounds 360m hostile bid after key institutions and a large number of small shareholders backed the UK company's call to remain independent.

Kvaerner, the Norwegian engineer which began yesterday holding 26 per cent of Amec, received acceptances for another 10.4 per cent of ordinary shares and 28.2 per cent of the preference stock.

Although the combined holding was worth about 40 per cent in voting rights, the battle may not end here as Kvaerner is expected to keep its stake, making a later bid possible. Erik Tonseth, Kvaerner's chief executive, said that holding onto the investment was being seriously considered though no decision on whether to sell would be taken until after the Christmas holiday.

He would not comment on suggestions last week that Kvaerner would sue Amec's public relations company, Financial Dynamics, if the bid failed. The PR firm was sacked by Amec after it was heavily censured last week by the Takeover Panel.

Crucially, PDFM, the fund management offshoot of Union Bank of Switzerland and holder of 14 per cent of Amec, rejected Kvaerner's offer. M&G had already said it would line up behind Amec, while Norwich Union had accepted. A large number of Amec small shareholders, who held about 20 per cent of the company, appear to have sold to Kvaerner.

Mr Tonseth said he must accept "differing views of value" after its bid for Amec lapsed earlier this afternoon "In launching our bid for

Amec three weeks ago, we made clear we believed the value to Kvaerner of a combination of our businesses was pounds 1 cash per ordinary Amec share. The majority of Amec's ordinary shareholders have not accepted our offer and we must respect these differing views of value."

The bid, which lasted just 21 days rather than the normal 60, was sometimes a bitter affair. M&G hit out at the use of a seldom-used 21-day timetable, saying the period was too short to make a sensible investment decision. Kvaerner was expected to announce the result at yesterday's 5pm deadline, but instead allowed the bid to simply lapse under the takeover rules.

The move was described by one Amec source as being "ungracious in defeat".

"The whole thing has been too rushed through", a M&G spokesman said. Another institutional shareholder was last week critical of the dawn raid which netted Kvaerner's original 10 per cent stake at the end of November. However, Amec's defence strategy has not escaped the flak.

Its attempt to consummate a merger with rival construction group Alfred McAlpine the day after Kvaerner first showed its hand was seen as weakening its case, particularly after receiving an almost immediate brush-off by its intended partner. And at the weekend, Richard Needham, former trade and industry minister, entered the fray with backing for Amec. His comment that a takeover would undermine UK export efforts angered the Norwegian company. Amec shares closed yesterday 3p down at 93p.

Comment, page 19

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before