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Spain's ACS presents Hochtief takover bid

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Spain's ACS presents Hochtief takover bid
Photo: DPA
16:00 CET+01:00
Spain's largest construction group ACS said it presented its offer for German rival Hochtief to Germany's financial supervisory authority Bafin on Thursday.

Bafin has 15 days to rule on the bid, and Hochtief shareholders then have a further four weeks to decide whether to accept the offer, a company spokesman said.

ACS, which already holds just under 30 percent of Hochtief, Germany's largest public works group, wants to take a controlling stake through an all-share share swap to create what would be one of the world's leading building firms.

However, the Spanish company offered a price below Hochtief's current market value, which Hochtief says does not represent fair value for the group. The German firm is trying to force the Spanish group to make a bid for Hochtief's Australian subsidiary Leighton, thereby increasing the price and possibly discouraging ACS.

ACS could instead carry out a capital increase of €78.5 million ($107.6 million), which is to be approved during an extraordinary meeting of shareholders on November 19.

Hochtief reported on Thursday a 17-percent third-quarter net profit gain and a reorganisation in Europe as it tries to fight off the takeover.

The company, anxious to prevent ACS from seizing control at a diminished price, said it was considering acquisitions in India and Canada and wanted to boost the installation of sea-based wind turbines, a market it described as "booming."

In Europe it plans to merge several divisions into a single unit in hopes of saving €40 million a year.

The company reported net earnings in the July-September period of €143 million ($196 million). Profit before taxes edged up 1.0 percent from third quarter 2009 to €430 million.

AFP/The Local/mry

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