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Mouchel agrees £170M refinancing deal

Consultant Mouchel today announced it had agreed a £170M deal with its banks that will take it through to 31 March 2014.

The announcement comes as the firm attempts to resist takeover attempts by a number of contractors - Costain has made a number of unsuccessful attempts to buy the firm over the past two months and now Carillion, Balfour Beatty and Capita are understood to be planning their own bids.

Mouchel chief executive Richard Cuthbert said the deal signalled an “important turning point” for the firm.

“It provides the Group with stability and ensures that we can continue to compete successfully in our chosen markets,” he said. “Although we are still operating in challenging conditions, the fundamentals of our business and long-term opportunities for the Group remain strong.

“Mouchel came to the Stock Market on the back of the major public service reforms of the 1980s and 1990s; the present Government’s policies will offer a second major catalyst to growth for Mouchel. With our new facilities and our leading market positions in local government outsourcing, public sector consulting, highways and water, we look forward with renewed confidence to implementing our strategy, working with organisations across the UK public sector - and in selected overseas markets - to improve the quality and efficiency of public services.”

Contractor Costain last week upped the ante in its battle for consultant Mouchel with a third takeover proposal worth more than £170M. Costain chairman David Allvey said he hoped it would “encourage Mouchel’s board to engage with us without delay”.

Mouchel’s board urged its shareholders to ignore the approach, claiming other firms were also expressing an interest in the consultant.

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

Last week’s bid marks a 45% hike on Costain’s first indicative offer, which valued Mouchel at around £118M.

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