M&R’s new oil and gas focus: Wheatstone project, Onslow, Western Australia. Picture: MURRAY & ROBERTS
M&R’s new oil and gas focus: Wheatstone project, Onslow, Western Australia. Picture: MURRAY & ROBERTS

Aton has let its R7.6bn offer for Murray and Roberts (M&R) lapse, citing the oppositional stance towards the deal adopted by the engineering company's independent board.

There were also significant risks in extending the long-stop date, including the exposure associated with maintaining in place the cash confirmation connected with the offer, the company said in a statement.

Aton, a German family-owned investment firm that already owns 44% of M&R, initially made an offer of R15 per share in March 2017, upping this to R17 July 2018.

The offer has been rejected by the M&R independent board, which said the amount undervalued the group and its prospects.

The Public Investment Corporation, which holds 20.15%, has also rejected the offer.

In June, the Competition Commission recommended prohibiting the takeover, saying it would result in a substantial lessening of competition in shaft-sinking, contract mining, mine development and underground construction.

The Competition Tribunal was set to hear arguments on the commission's recommendation in December.

M&R’s share price had fallen 4.02% to R12.66 as of 10.20am on Tuesday.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za