Business

Mouchel shares slump as takeover bids rejected

Outsourcing group Mouchel has rejected takeover bids from construction firm Costain and services company Interserve and reported a half-year loss.

Shares in the company fell 34% as a result.

The firm dismissed Interserve's bid for undervaluing the business, and said that Costain's offer was too risky.

It also reported a pre-tax loss of £1.5m for the six months to 31 January, an improvement on the £3.5m loss a year earlier. Revenue fell 13% to £270.3m.

"It has been another challenging period for Mouchel. Our clients have been impacted by the tough economic climate," said Richard Cuthbert, the group's chief executive.

Double offer

The board said it was not in the company's interests to proceed with any further discussions with its two suitors.

In January, Costain raised its shares plus cash offer, valuing Mouchel's shares at 153 pence each.

A month later, Interserve offered 135p per share, including 50p in cash.

Mouchel said there could be no certainty about whether the two firms would make further offers.

The company also said it expected results for the year ending 31 July to be broadly in line with earlier expectations.

It said its performance depended to some degree on winning public sector business at a time when the government is making big spending cuts.

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