Investors `stand by Cook'

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Investors in William Cook, the castings business on the receiving end of a pounds 58.4m hostile bid from engineers Triplex Lloyd, are standing by the company.

Major shareholders say they are not prepared to accept the current offer, according to Cook.

William Cook has an unusually high concentration of ownership. Seven fund managers own more than 60 per cent of shares. The largest is Phillips & Drew, with 21 per cent.

On Friday, Triplex Lloyd released its offer document for295.4p a share cash or seven new Triplex Lloyd shares and pounds 13.50 for every nine William Cook shares, worth 312.9p.

Graham Lockyer, chief executive of Triplex, said: "Our document clearly shows the benefits of combining Triplex and William Cook - a powerful combination that is founded on industrial logic."

Andrew Cook, chief executive of William Cook, has shrugged off revelations of consultancies for his wife and father. His wife, a lawyer, is paid pounds 35,000 a year, while his father, former chairman, is paid pounds 15,000 a year. Mr Cook believes the contracts represent good value for money.

He has hit back at the offer, saying: "We shall fight this bid with all our energies."