CIMIC eyes takeover of Macma­hon

Pilbara News - - News - Nick Evans

Con­tract­ing gi­ant CIMIC has lobbed a takeover bid for Macma­hon Hold­ings, of­fer­ing 14.5¢ a share to mop up the 80 per cent of the com­pany it does not al­ready own.

CIMIC holds 20.5 per cent of Macma­hon shares and its of­fer val­ues the com­pany at $175 mil­lion.

The of­fer is a 32 per cent pre­mium to Macma­hon’s 11¢ clos­ing price yes­ter­day, and the strug­gling con­trac­tor has not traded above the of­fer level since a brief spike above 15¢ in Au­gust.

CIMIC said last week its off-mar­ket bid was un­con­di­tional, and the com­pany had also ap­pointed Credit Suisse to buy Macma­hon shares on-mar­ket at the of­fer price.

Macma­hon said in a state­ment last Tues­day its board was con­sid­er­ing a re­sponse to the CIMIC of­fer, and rec­om­mended that share­hold­ers take no ac­tion un­til its board had had time to re­lease a for­mal rec­om­men­da­tion on the bid.

CIMIC’s move on Macma­hon is the lat­est in a slew of hos­tile bids launched to mop up its mi­nor­ity in­ter­ests in other con­trac­tors since Span­ish gi­ant ACL took con­trol of the com­pany, then known as Leighton Hold­ings, in early 2014.

CIMIC handed the Macma­hon board a so-called sec­ond strike at last year’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing by vot­ing against its re­mu­ner­a­tion re­port, and also voted again the re­elec­tion of chair­man Jim Walker.

The manda­tory vote to spill the WA con­trac­tor’s board was eas­ily de­feated at the Novem­ber meet­ing, how­ever.

CIMIC’s ap­proach to Macma­hon mir­rors its move on listed en­gi­neer­ing com­pany Sedg­man.

In 2015 CIMIC am­bushed the Sedg­man board at its an­nual share­holder meet­ing, us­ing its 37 per cent hold­ing to dump three in­de­pen­dent direc­tors in a share­holder poll, and de­manded di­rect rep­re­sen­ta­tion on the Sedg­man board.

Two months later, CIMIC launched a hos­tile takeover for the con­trac­tor.

Since then, CIMIC has closed a hos­tile bid for UGL, which was rec­om­mended by the com­pany’s board.

CIMIC said it had re­ceived For­eign In­vest­ment Re­view Board ap­proval for the Macma­hon tilt, and that the Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion had in­di­cated it would not in­ter­vene in the bid.

Pic­ture: Danella Be­vis

Macma­hon has said its board its con­sid­er­ing a re­sponse to the CIMIC of­fer.

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