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Fairey boosts offer for Burnfield

Fairey Group, the electronics and engineering manufacturing specialist, has made an "increased and final offer" for Burnfield which values the measuring equipment company at pounds 57.7m.

The higher offer, which came after the Stock Exchange closed on Christmas Eve, is in the form of 25 new Fairey shares for each 92 Burnfield shares, and represents an 11 per cent increase.

In addition, shareholders would get dividends from both Fairey and from Burnfield, which had forecast a pay-out of 2.2p per share. Including the dividends, the offer values each Burnfield share at 165p, a 65 per cent premium over the share price on 16 December, just before the hostile offer was announced. The shares closed on Tuesday at 142p.

The original offer had been for pounds 51m, in the form of one new Fairey share for each four Burnfield shares held.

The bid is still conditional on Burnfield not proceeding with the proposed pounds 24m acquisition of Ling Dynamic Systems, the privately owned vibration equipment company, or the associated seven-for-10 rights issue at 90p a share, aimed at raising pounds 20.3m.

Fairey is keen to develop its industrial electronics businesses and repeated its claims that two companies could be profitably combined.

"The Burnfield companies are a good fit with two of Fairey's process technology businesses, LaserMike and Particle Measuring Systems," John Poulter, Fairey's chief executive said.

The hostile bid has sparked a war of words between the two companies, with Fairey savaging Burnfield's acquisition record and the target company criticising Fairey's record on creating shareholder value.

Burnfield recently sold its four temperature and pressure businesses for a loss of pounds 12m.

The initial bid from Fairey was rejected as far too low and opportunistic by Burnfield, which called on shareholders to support plans by management to complete the LDS acquisition. Shareholders will vote on the LDS deal, as well as the rights issue, at a special meeting on 30 December.