Picture: 123RF STOCK PHOTO
Picture: 123RF STOCK PHOTO

The Competition Tribunal will hear an urgent interdict on Friday, brought by Murray and Roberts (M&R) to block Aton from voting more than about 30% of its shares at a general meeting on Tuesday.

The tribunal said on Thursday that it would hear M&R’s argument why the German investment group should be prevented from using the voting rights of shares acquired since March 22 at a shareholder meeting scheduled for next Tuesday, June 19.

M&R needs a "simple majority" of more than 50% at the meeting to proceed with its proposed all-share acquisition of Aveng.

Aton has raised its stake in M&R to about 44% from 33% in April.

M&R informed shareholders on June 8 that it intended to request that the tribunal bar Aton from voting its recently acquired shares.

"If the June 19 resolution is successfully passed by a simple majority of M&R shareholders, the board will, subject to regulatory approvals, including approval from the Takeover Regulation Panel, and the outcome of the due diligence, move to finalise the terms of the potential offer with the board of directors of Aveng and present a formal offer to Aveng shareholders," M&R said.

"Aton has made its opposition to the potential transaction clear.

"Given the purpose of the June 19 resolution, and in the interests of all M&R shareholders, the board requested Aton to undertake not to exercise the voting rights attached to any shares acquired after March 22, until it has received the necessary merger control approval from the competition authorities.

"Aton rejected the board’s request. Accordingly, the board has applied to the Competition Tribunal for appropriate relief," M&R said last Friday.