Bruntcliffe buys Tarmac quarries: Shares suspended pending deal that will double company's size

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The Independent Online
BRUNTCLIFFE Aggregates, the quarrying business, has made its first acquisition since coming to market in May, with a pounds 12.5m purchase from Tarmac, writes Robert Cole.

News of the acquisition came as it was revealed that Mike Willis, chief executive, has been granted 500,000 options to buy shares at 35p any time between three and seven years from now. He is paid pounds 75,000 a year.

Trading in Bruntcliffe shares was suspended yesterday until shareholders approve the Tarmac deal in about three weeks' time. The Stock Exchange suggested suspension because the deal was so large - it will double Bruntcliffe's size.

The acquisition of Northern Scottish Quarries from Tarmac is to be part-funded by a share issue. A placing and open offer, underwritten by Samuel Montagu, will raise pounds 9.1m. The rest of the purchase price is to be met by bank borrowing, which will lift debt gearing to 30 per cent at the peak.

Northern Scottish digs stone for a wide range of construction purposes. Fixed and extractable assets are worth pounds 12m, but there are other unmined quarries in the portfolio.

Northern's turnover in the year to last December was pounds 11.9m and it made an operating profit of pounds 1.5m before administration and management costs.

The shares were suspended at 36p compared with 25p when they were floated. The placing price is 35p. Tarmac shares closed up 1.5p at 150p.

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