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Ackermans Offers $610 Million for CFE to Create Dredging Giant

Ackermans & van Haaren NV, the investment firm that owns half of Dredging Environmental & Marine Engineering NV, offered to buy Cie. d’Entreprises CFE SA for 451 million euros ($610 million) to gain full control of the world’s third-largest dredging company.

Prior to its planned 45 euros-a-share offer for CFE, Ackermans agreed to sell its 50 percent stake in DEME to CFE in an all-stock transaction valuing the dredging company at 1.1 billion euros, according to a statement today. Ackermans, based in Antwerp, Belgium, also agreed to buy half of Vinci SA (DG)’s holding in CFE for about 138 million euros in cash, increasing its ownership of CFE to 60.4 percent prior to the mandatory offer.

The proposed transaction would boost CFE’s value and may provide investors with a valid alternative for Papendrecht, Netherlands-based Royal Boskalis Westminster NV (BOKA), the world’s largest dredging company by sales, should CFE investors spurn Ackermans’s mandatory offer at a premium of 4.3 percent to CFE’s latest closing price. Belgium’s Jan De Nul Groep, the second-largest dredging company, and Van Oord Groep NV from the Netherlands are both closely held.

“The fact that Vinci maintains half of its stake proves that Vinci is convinced of the industrial potential and of the potential value creation of the new structure,” Ackermans Chief Executive Officer Luc Bertrand said in the statement. “We hope that we will also be able to convince all other shareholders to continue to support CFE.”

The Vinci-approved transaction values DEME at about 1.92 billion euros including debt, or 4.95 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the 12 months through June. Boskalis trades for 8.66 times Ebitda, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

CFE currently derives about half its annual revenue and more than 80 percent of Ebitda from its 50 percent stake in Zwijndrecht, Belgium-based DEME, which was first established in 1991 as the parent company of Dredging International and Baggerwerken Decloedt.

To contact the reporter on this story: John Martens in Brussels at jmartens1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net

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