GKN rejects £7bn Melrose bid, plans to split in two

GKN rejects £7bn Melrose bid, plans to split in two

GKN rejects £7bn Melrose bid, plans to split in two

A two-year programme dubbed "Project Boost" has been launched to "significantly" improve performance across the business.

GKN said Stevens had conducted a review which would split its aerospace division - formed by the purchase of a stake in Westland helicopters in 1988 - from its automotive business.

GKN traded 26 percent higher at 419.6 pence as of 10:46 a.m.in London, valuing the company at 7.2 billion pounds, an indication investors expect a higher offer to emerge.

The firm itself undertook a "wide-ranging review" of its business a year ago, as profit margins and cash generation were stuck "below expectations".

"In a statement, the FTSE 100-listed group said that on 8 January 2018 it received "a preliminary and unsolicited" takeover proposal" from Melrose Industries PLC (LON:MRS) at a price of 405p per share, comprising 80% in new Melrose shares and 20% in cash.

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GKN is divided into multiple sectors, including aerospace, automotive technology and engineering solutions.

GKN said today it had now appointed Anne Stevens to run the group on a permanent basis after she took up the role of interim CEO in November.

GKN's board dismissed the offer from Melrose in a unanimous decision.

The Board of GKN has considered the Proposal together with its financial advisers, Gleacher Shacklock, J.P. Morgan Cazenove and UBS Limited, and has unanimously rejected it, having concluded that the Proposal is entirely opportunistic and that the terms fundamentally undervalue the Company and its prospects.

One shareholder in Melrose, who also previously used to own stock in GKN, said "good assets, bad management" had always been the story at GKN.

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"GKN is a world leader with the potential to perform even better", she said.

While that plan does not yet entail a full separate listing, it could make one possible in the future.

It said: "The board will communicate further details on the optimal method of separation in due course".

It said both businesses would benefit from being separate companies with distinct investment profiles and capital allocation policies.

Market sources suggested companies such as Spirit AeroSystems or Triumph Group could be suitors for GKN's aerospace business.

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A bid battle is now likely as Melrose, which specialises in buying struggling businesses, turning them round and selling them at a profit with the proceeds given back to shareholders, will pursue its interest despite GKN's opposition. It carried net debt of around £700 million as of June 30th, 2017.

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