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Murray & Roberst to Sell Africa Construction-Product Unit

Murray & Roberts Holdings Ltd., South Africa’s second-biggest builder by market value, will sell its African construction products division to cut debt and streamline businesses.

Murray & Roberts rose for the first time in four days in Johannesburg trading after saying the disposal value will be about 1.3 billion rand ($130.1 million) before transaction costs. Buyers include Capitalworks, RMB Ventures Ltd. and management, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement.

“There was limited strategic fit between these businesses and Murray & Roberts’s future growth aspirations in engineering and construction,” Chief Executive Officer Henry Laas said in a separate statement. The divestment will allow the company to reduce debt on its South African balance sheet and invest in industries and countries offering “the best long term growth potential,” he said.

The stock advanced 4.7 percent, the steepest gain since June 13, to 25.13 rand at the close in Johannesburg, valuing the company at 11.2 billion rand.

Murray & Roberts is among 15 companies that agreed to settle a combined fine of 1.46 billion rand for collusion over contracts. South Africa’s construction industry is facing a slowdown as the economy expands at a slower pace.

The company said it’s still in talks on the sale of its Hall Longmore pipeline-supplier operation.

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