Hanson near to making mega-bid

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The Independent Online
HANSON, the acquisitive conglomerate that last week announced the demerger of part of its US operations, may launch its expected mega- bid as early as next month, writes William Kay.

The UK group's shareholders are due to meet in April to approve the demerger of US Industries. But sources close to Hanson pointed out yesterday that the company would not have to wait for that approval before mounting a bid.

"Any bids are going to have to be of a scale and size to give us a new division," said Derek Bonham, the group's chief executive. But he reacted angrily to the suggestion by an analyst, Chris Alexander at Lehman Brothers, that USI was a "dustbin trust".

"That is a ridiculous thing to say," Mr Bonham snapped back. "There is a nucleus of terrific businesses in there, including Jacuzzi Whirlpools, Ames garden tools and Ertl toys. It's going to be an important conglomerate in its own right."