McAlpine ends talks with predator Brunswick

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The Independent Online

ALFRED MCALPINE, the British housebuilding and construction company, said yesterday that it had ended talks with Brunswick Developments, the privately-owned property group that has been stalking McAlpine since April.

ALFRED MCALPINE, the British housebuilding and construction company, said yesterday that it had ended talks with Brunswick Developments, the privately-owned property group that has been stalking McAlpine since April.

Oliver Whitehead, McAlpine's chief executive, said: "Brunswick [has] been unable to provide satisfactory evidence of its ability to finance a cash offer. And unless they can raise the money, there's nothing to talk about."

But Mr Whitehead did not rule out the possibility that Brunswick, or a rival bidder, could return with a further offer. He said: "Andrew Goodall [the entrepreneur who runs Brunswick] is a sensible man. He saw an undervalued company in an unloved sector."

In August Brunswick, which owns the Brighton Marina and which is backed by Andy Ruhan, the Midland millionaire, tabled an offer of 260p a share, valuing McAlpine at £265m. That offer was raised from an initial approach of 215.2p a share, which Brunswick made in April.

Mr Whitehead said he was confident of McAlpine's prospects for 2000. The company has forecast full-year pre-tax profits of not less than £46m, up from £34m a year earlier, and earnings per share of not less than 31.7p, up from 22.1p. McAlpine shares closed down 14.5p at 210p.

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