DUTCH CONTRACTING giant HBG this week sought to kill off a hostile takeover bid from Royal Boskalis by setting up a shell company to take control of 50% of its shares.
The new company, called Stichting HBG, will be able to veto merger proposals.
The move follows the collapse of merger talks and the announcement by Boskalis that it would make a takeover bid.
HBG is much bigger than Boskalis. It employs 22,000 people in Europe, the US and South East Asia. Boskalis employs 3,000 in five continents, but 60% of its work is in the Netherlands.
However, Boskalis claims to operate on higher margins. Last year's results showed Boskalis making a pretax profit of £66.4M on turnover of £487M while HBG made profits of £104.6M on turnover of £2.88bn.
Boskalis finance director Roel Berends said he expected the merged group to increase higher margin DBFO and partnering work and move away from competitive tendering.
Boskalis said the merger would unite its marine contracting operations with HBG's land based building and civil engineering activities which include British contractors Nuttall and Kyle Stewart.
Berends said that there were also potential synergies between the HBG and Boskalis marine contracting operations.
Royal Boskalis website is at www.boskalis.com
HBG's website is at www.hbg.nl