Mouchel fights hostile takeover bid

Grant Prior 13 years ago

Mouchel is facing a hostile takeover bid following a slump in its share price.

The consultant confirmed in a Stock Exchange update today that: “The significant fall in the group’s share price over the last few weeks has resulted in recent approaches to the company which would, if made, result in an offer being made for the company.

“As a result the company is in an offer period and a further announcement will be made in due course. The Board does not believe that these preliminary approaches reflect the true value of the company.”

Mouchel’s share price had fallen to 56.5p from a year high of 268p following financing fears at the firm.

This morning’s confirmation of a takeover approach saw a 34% jump in early trading as the share price hit a recent high of 75p as dealers reacted to the news.

The consultant is looking to sell non-core parts of the business as part of a corporate review which has seen Deloitte drafted in to reshape its structure.

The statement confirmed: “We have commenced preparatory work on the potential sale of non-core businesses and on a possible equity fundraising.

“We have also looked into alternative sources of funding and debt reduction. These are prudent measures to ensure that we maintain appropriate flexibility and maximise our long-term opportunities.”

Share traders have been selling the firm during ongoing talks over the refinancing of its £180m debt pile and fears over Government spending cuts.

Results in October revealed a pre-tax loss of £14.7m as bad debts in the Middle East and redundancy costs hit the business.

Mouchel has let 400 people go since July on top of 800 lay-offs in 2009/10, which has seen the number of employees drop to around 10,000.

The statement today added: “Mouchel’s immediate focus remains on managing our cost base, managing our cash well and helping our clients to maintain the highest possible levels of service to their customers and end-users.

“We expect the challenging market conditions of the last six months to continue for some time yet, but we also expect to see increasing long-term contract opportunities emerge in the first half of 2011.

“In the meantime, we continue to win new contracts and maintain great relationships with our clients.

“Our focused business strategy, established market position and our leading role in transforming essential services and sustaining vital infrastructure give us growing confidence in the medium and long-term prospects for the Group.”

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