Weir in £200m offer for Aussie firm

Weir Group, the deal-hungry FTSE 100 pump manufacturer, revealed more appetite for acquisitions yesterday, when it made an A$294m (£200m) offer for an Australian mining equipment maker.

Weir's A$7.92-a-share approach for Ludowici is 10 per cent higher than one by Danish rival FLSmidth last month. But the British pumpmaker said that its bid was still "subject to the satisfactory completion of due diligence and may or may not lead to an offer".

Ludowici, which employs 1,000 people around the world, makes vibrating screens and centrifuges that are used mainly in the coal-mining industry.

Weir's chief executive, Keith Cochrane, said: "Ludowici is a respected brand in the coal processing sector. The potential acquisition would expand our exposure to the attractive and fast-growing coal sector where Weir is relatively unrepresented."

If the deal does go ahead, it will be the company's third acquisition in almost as many months, with the previous two focusing on the controversial "fracking" method of gas extraction.

Last month, it spent $176m buying Novatech, a Texan pump parts manufacturer, while in November, it paid $675m to buy US wellhead specialist Seaboard Holdings.

Both firms make equipment used in fracking.

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