Scholes agrees to 96m pounds takeover bid by Hanson: Electrical components manufacturer to be merged with Crabtree

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The Independent Online
HANSON, the Anglo-American industrial conglomerate, has launched a pounds 96m agreed takeover bid for Scholes, the electrical components maker.

The acquisition is the latest move in Hanson's strategy to buy smaller companies that it can bolt on to existing businesses.

Scholes will be merged with Crabtree, which became part of Hanson when Ever Ready batteries was purchased in 1981.

Hanson has offered cash equivalent to 250p a share. Scholes' shares rose from 193p to meet the bid price yesterday. Crabtree and Scholes make similar products, including fuse boxes, plugs and adaptors. Derek Bonham, Hanson chief executive, said the combined businesses would have a market share of 20-25 per cent. The deal needed Office of Fair Trading clearance, but informal contacts indicated approval would be granted.

Mr Bonham expects to increase operating efficiency at Scholes and indicated that job losses were likely. He did not say how many people would be made redundant.

He added that while jobs might be lost in the short term Hanson was keen to develop Scholes' potential. 'In the long run I hope there will be enhanced job opportunities,' he said.

Bill Riches, chairman of Scholes, endorsed the takeover and said that discussions had been taking place for several years. 'I am pleased that we have agreed on a price for Scholes which I believe to be fair,' he added.

The 250p price is 30 per cent above the level at which Scholes' shares were trading immediately before the bid. In addition, it is 32 times Scholes' post-tax profits for the year to 30 June last year. Results for the year just ended have not been published.