Aton, the German conglomerate bidding for control of Murray & Roberts (M&R), has signalled the JSE-listed company will have a tough time convincing it of the merits of a tie-up with Aveng. Aton said on Thursday it was "steadfastly against a transaction" between M&R and Aveng, stressing that the proposed tie-up "would impose a significant and unpredictable risk to M&R". It pointed out that Aveng had reported losses of R6.7bn in financial 2017. Aton was responding to a Sens announcement by M&R stating that it continued to believe in the strategic and financial merits of the proposed transaction for the shareholders of M&R and Aton. "Murray & Roberts and Aton have agreed to meet in order to discuss the merits of the potential transaction, with the aim to procure Aton’s support," said M&R.

The M&R share price shot up to more than R18 on Thursday, comfortably more than Aton’s revised offer of R17 a share. It closed 3.71% higher at R18.18, bringing gains in 2018 to just more than 50...

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