Outlook: BTR/Siebe

NOBODY SEEMS much to like Siebe's planned merger with BTR. Siebe's shareholders worry that the merger will dilute their company's quality image, and that BTR will prove as unmanageable for Siebe's Allen Yurko as it plainly has been for his opposite number at BTR, Ian Strachen.

Meanwhile BTR shareholders complain that the takeover - for that is what it is in essence - is without premium and does nothing to correct the appalling loss of value they've experienced. Furthermore, they seem to be contributing rather more than half the combined turnover and profits for rather less than half its shares. They question whether the injection of Siebe's management is worth that kind of dilution.

BTR's share price has been in more or less relentless decline ever since Ian Strachen was appointed with the brief of dismantling the sprawling industrial conglomerate created by Sir Owen Green and transforming it into a "focused engineering group". Nobody can fault the underlying sense of this; the problem is that once committed to a programme of wholesale asset sales, it is the saleable bits that tend to go first, leaving the dross behind. There is certainly a suspicion that this is what has happened at BTR and that this is one of the reasons its profits are in such precipitous decline.

All the same, hope springs eternal and many BTR shareholders continue to believe there's recovery value in the rump. Plainly Mr Yurko is not going to agree a renegotiation of the terms; he's got enough explaining to do to his own shareholders as it is. So BTR's only hope is that the Siebe deal will shake someone else out of the tree.

With the shares now trading at a 7 per cent premium to the value of Siebe's offer, the market is saying that this is not altogether impossible. A year ago, if anyone had come shopping with an offer of, say, 160p a share cash, he would have been sent away with a flea in his ear. Today shareholders would bite his hand off in their desperation to accept the offer.

There are at least four US engineering companies for whom BTR would make a good fit, though some of these might have a competition problem in bidding. Alternatively, one of Britain's smaller engineering companies might like to chance their arm with a management buyin. Both possibilities seem remote, but there's still a chance someone's going to spoil the party.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Stockbroker

£Basic (OTE) + Uncapped Commission: Guru Careers: A Stockbroker (qualified / p...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Adviser

£20000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you recently QCA Level 4 qu...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Guru Careers: Application Support Analyst / 1st Line Support

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Application Support Analyst / 1st L...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence