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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...

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