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Murray & Roberts Offer Almost Three Times Oversubscribed

Murray & Roberts Holdings Ltd., South Africa’s second-biggest construction company, said its rights offer announced in February was almost three times oversubscribed.

Investors sought 110.5 million rights-offer shares, equivalent to 97.9 percent of the 112.8 million offered, Johannesburg-based Murray & Roberts said in a statement today. Holders of rights willing to buy more stock applied for a further 207 million shares, equivalent to 183.5 percent of the total offered. The subscription price was 18 rand a share.

“The net proceeds from the rights offer will be deployed to reduce the group’s debt,” Chief Executive Officer Henry Laas said in a statement. The strengthening of Murray & Roberts finances “will provide additional support to our recovery and growth plan.”

Murray & Roberts posted a loss of 528 million rand ($67 million) in the six months through December. Last year it resolved not to pay dividends until liquidity improves following a slowdown in South African spending on infrastructure and unresolved claims with projects in its home market and Dubai. Murray & Roberts, which helped build the Gautrain rapid-rail network that links Johannesburg and Pretoria, also has operations in Australia.

Murray & Roberts fell 3.8 percent to 27.29 rand at the close in Johannesburg, the biggest drop since Jan. 31. The stock has climbed 18 percent this year, compared with a 19 percent gain in the FTSE/JSE Africa Construction & Building Materials index.

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