ATON raises Murray & Roberts bid to $426 million, ups stake to 44 percent: Reuters

German investment house ATON raised its takeover offer for Murray & Roberts (MURJ.J) by around 13 percent to $426 million on Friday, attempting to secure investor backing after the South African builder struck a deal of its own last week.

The offer underlines ATON’s determination to expand in Africa’s most industrialized economy, whose prospects have improved since Cyril Ramaphosa took over as president promising to root out corruption and push through business-friendly policies.

The decision comes after ATON – led by German investor Lutz Helmig – raised its stake in Murray & Roberts to 44 percent at 17 rand per share, triggering a rule under South African capital market regulations to offer all shareholders the same amount.

The revised offer values Murray & Roberts at 7.6 billion rand ($610.31 million), based on a total issued shares of 445 million.

That would value the roughly 70 percent of shares ATON has acquired or is seeking to buy since it began its pursuit of Murray & Roberts at around $426 million.

ATON first made an offer in March at 15 rand per share, valuing the company at roughly around 6.7 billion rand. At the time ATON held a roughly one-third stake in Murray & Roberts.

That offer was rejected by Murray & Roberts’ board and its second biggest shareholder, the Public Investment Corporation, as “opportunistic” and poor value for shareholders.

The new bid comes a week after Murray & Roberts said it had started talks on an all-share merger with local rival Aveng Ltd (AEGJ.J).