GKN shares jump 26% after announcing rejected bid from Melrose

GKN shares jump 26% after announcing rejected bid from Melrose

GKN shares jump 26% after announcing rejected bid from Melrose

Shares in embattled engineer GKN jumped more than 20 per cent at the market open as the company rejected an unsolicited offer from Melrose Industries and unveiled a plan to split its business.

Melrose, valued at 4.16 billion pounds ($5.7 billion) at the close on Thursday, specialises in buying companies that it can improve through investment and cost cuts with the aim of selling them at a profit.

Gleacher Shacklock, JP Morgan Cazenove and UBS are advising GKN and Melrose is working with bankers from Rothschild, RBC Capital Markets and Investec. In 2015, Slaughters acted for the company on a £200m shares placement. Serious threat to #industrialstrategy. where is gov?

The GKN board described the offer as "opportunistic", and said that it "fundamentally" undervalued the company.

"The proposal would materially dilute the exposure of [our] shareholders to the meaningful upside opportunities that the board believes are present within the company", says GKN.

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On the back of this news, GKN's shares hit their highest level in well over a decade.

The firm issued a profit warning in October over problems at its aerospace division. It expects to write down between £80m and £130m as the value of stocks at the division had been overestimated.

The engineering group also announced the appointment of interim boss Anne Stevens as the group's permanent chief executive. Now Stevens, a former senior executive at Ford, has been handed the job permanently.

GKN, which in October past year said business performance was not meeting management expectations, has now made a decision to separate its aerospace and automotive division and launched a a so-called "Project Boost" performance improvement programmeme.

In its own statement, released mid-morning Melrose said it believes that there would be "significant operational and commercial benefits arising from Melrose's ownership of GKN's businesses, reversing a history of existing GKN management not delivering on margin targets".

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"GKN has made up for years of lumbering progress in a flash", said Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

'Historically, the pension deficit has held the group together, but with the sprawling footprint likely to have contributed to recent profit warnings, the reasons for divorce now seem to outweigh the costs of splitting'.

GKN said current trading was in line with expectations, with 2017 profits expected to be slightly ahead of the 2016 figure of £678m before the USA write-off.

According to Financial Times, Melrose now has until 5pm on February 9 to "put up or shut up" - either announce a firm bid or step away for the next six months, absent any change in circumstances. "One notable difference the FTSE and the USA indexes is the London market is making relatively small strides higher, which suggest a canned excitement", said David Madden, analyst at CMC Market, in a note.

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