Offer for M&R reflects slump in construction
Prolonged slump has made most construction stocks so cheap that foreigners must have noticed
German family investment company Aton’s firm offer for all of the ordinary shares in the once leading Murray & Roberts engineering group might be a sign of things to come. SA’s listed construction- sector stocks have been in a slump for years, with only Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon keeping its head above water. That has made most of them so cheap that foreigners must have noticed. In the case of Murray & Roberts, Aton started accruing shares in late 2015 and now has a 39.6% stake in the company, augmented by a 6.5% chunk of Allan Gray investor stakes in the group. This gives Aton 39.8% of voting rights. Some analysts see the R15 a share offer as way too low. For others, this is not the case at all. The Murray & Roberts independent expert reckons a controlling stake is worth at least R20 to R22 a share. With the offer now made, expect the market to start rapidly finding a price at which Aton might get the controlling share it wants. So far, Aton says its R2bn stake in Murray & Roberts h...