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Costain steps up Mouchel interest

Contractor Costain has upped the ante in its battle for consultant Mouchel as it revealed a third takeover proposal worth more than £170M.

Costain’s higher approach – worth around 153.2p for each Mouchel share – comes after Mouchel flatly rejected two previous moves over the past two months.

Today’s all-share proposal marks a 45% hike on Costain’s first indicative offer, which valued Mouchel at around £118M.

Costain chairman David Allvey said he hoped it would “encourage Mouchel’s board to engage with us without delay”.

But the group’s plans could be scuppered as Mouchel is thought to be close to securing a refinancing that may help it fend off the unsolicited interest.

Costain’s pursuit comes after Mouchel shares hit an all-time low of 56.5p in early December – down from a year high of 268p – amid concerns over government spending cuts and as it holds talks over the refinancing of its debt pile.

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