WS Atkins shares reach record high after firm receives takeover approach

WS Atkins shares reach record high after firm receives takeover approach

WS Atkins shares reach record high after firm receives takeover approach

British engineering design and planning firm Atkins (ATK.L) Monday announced that it has received an indicative offer of 2,080 pence in cash from SNC-Lavlin.

SNC made a tentative offer to buy the Epsom, England-based company for 2,080 pence a share, and discussions are under way about other terms and conditions of the proposal, Atkins said in a statement Monday after a jump in the share price.

Shares in Atkins soared more than 26 per cent in afternoon trading as news of the deal broke.

Talks have now opened between the two companies about other terms and conditions of a possible offer, which is conditional on, among other things, diligence and financing.

In January, the stock rose sharply after media reports said the group had been approached by USA peer CH2M about a possible $4 billion merger. It has also been cutting costs in order to lift margins at its core engineering and construction division.

Moelis & Co and JPMorgan are advising Atkins.

Buying Atkins would strengthen SNC's foothold in Europe, which accounted for only 5.3 per cent of the Canadian company's sales a year ago.

Last month, Neil Bruce, SNC's chief executive, said the company has been looking to boost growth by acquisition.

Montreal-based SNC's shares were halted in Toronto following the Atkins statement.

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