Blue Circle defence against Lafarge cost £27m

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The Independent Online

Blue Circle Industries, the cement producer, spent £27m fighting off a hostile bid earlier this year from Lafarge, its French rival.

Blue Circle Industries, the cement producer, spent £27m fighting off a hostile bid earlier this year from Lafarge, its French rival.

The cost emerged as the company yesterday beat City forecasts to report pre-tax profit, before exceptionals, of £125.8m, up from £110.4m, for the six months to 30 June. Blue Circle's defence fees will be shared between its advisers, the brokers Cazenove and ABN Amro, Lazard Brothers, the investment bank, Slaughter & May, the law firm, and Brunswick, the PR agency. The £27m included the cost of advertisements taken out by Blue Circle during the bid. Lafarge spent about euro 100m (£61m) on its failed assault.

Blue Circle said that in Malaysia - a key battleground during the bid - it expects a full-year volume increase of at least 20 per cent on the back of a recovery in that market. However, it added that price outlook in Chile and parts of the US was uncertain.

The company said it had yet to decide on how to return a planned £400m - the second tranche of a promised £800m - to shareholders but would make a statement by December.

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