CITY WATCH

Engineering’s market year is off to a hectic start with three contested takeover bids unresolved. Centre stage is the £58 million battle by Triplex Lloyd for William Cook where the action is suspended while the OFT considers the implications. With Cook’s determined defence and its market price riding some 50p above the 308p value of […]

Engineering’s market year is off to a hectic start with three contested takeover bids unresolved. Centre stage is the £58 million battle by Triplex Lloyd for William Cook where the action is suspended while the OFT considers the implications. With Cook’s determined defence and its market price riding some 50p above the 308p value of the bidder’s shares and cash offer, better terms look a requirement for success.

Watchers are much more confident about victory for FKI with its £200 million cash and paper offer for Newman Tonks, the architectural products outfit. Newman’s shares have long been dull performers, and though the board is opposing the bidder’s terms, worth 153p a share, major Newman investors M&G and Britannic support the predator. Three Newman directors are entitled under service contracts to pay-offs totalling more than £1 million if the bid succeeds.

Fairey’s upwardly revised and now final paper offer of £57.7 million for Burnfield is agreed by the companies’ advisers, but the Burnfield board cannot recommend it as it is subject to the proviso that Burfield abandon its own earlier £24million offer for LDS, the testing equipment concern. Burnfield shareholders have yet to vote on that.

The strong market price of Burnfield (167p on Tuesday) clearly signals the City expectation that they will opt for Fairey rather than the LDS deal.

Steam equipment concern Spirax-Sarco meanwhile forged strongly ahead on news of its £17 million acquisition of Dutch pump maker Bredel.