Aton’s unwelcome overtures are impeding Murray & Roberts’s (M&R’s) aspirations, such as strategic acquisitions and repurchasing its own shares, M&R said.

In yet another explicit display of its opposition to a deal with its biggest shareholder, M&R has questioned the wisdom of Aton’s hostile takeover bid for M&R, saying there was a misalignment between its own strategic aspirations and Aton’s investment objectives.

In its results for the year to June, M&R said it was keen to hold discussions with Aton to clarify its plans and seek alignment on strategic direction.

In July, Aton made an offer for M&R at R17 a share, which is below M&R’s preferred price range of R20-R22 a share. Aton is a 44% shareholder in M&R.

M&R lifted revenue from continuing operations by 2%, from the previous R21.4bn to R21.8bn. Attributable earnings soared 456% to R267m.

Diluted continuing headline earnings per share increased by 56% to 112c a share.

M&R’s order book for continuing operations was up 12% to R30.1bn. The company increased its gross annual dividend from 45c to 50c.

The company’s oil and gas business increased revenue from R6.7bn to R8.5bn, while its operating profit fell from R217m to R209m.

On the other hand, the phased completion of Eskom’s Medupi and Kusile power stations hit M&R’s power and water business, which reported a decline in revenue from R5.9bn to R4.8bn.

M&R CEO Henry Laas said on Wednesday that recent steps to de-risk the company and refine its business model had shifted focus towards realising the earnings potential of its three business platforms – oil and gas, underground mining and power and water.

"The evolution of the group’s strategy in anticipation [of] and response to market dynamics, specifically the cyclicality of the natural resources market sectors in which the group operates, has provided a clear roadmap for shareholder value growth in the years ahead," said Laas.