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Murray & Roberts Bids for Rest of Clough to Diversify Industries

Murray & Roberts Holdings Ltd. offered to buy the rest of Australia’s Clough Ltd. for about $407 million as South Africa’s second-biggest builder seeks long-term growth in the energy and mining industries.

The company plans to buy the 38.4 percent of shares it does not already own for A$1.46 a share, or A$449 million ($407 million) in cash, it said in a statement today. The price carries a 31 percent premium over Clough’s July 30 closing price of $1.115, Murray & Roberts said.

“This proposed acquisition is strategically compelling, consistent with our long-term growth plans and the next logical step to fulfil our strategic objectives,” Murray & Roberts Chief Executive Officer Henry Laas said in a separate e-mailed statement.

The Johannesburg-based company sees oil, gas, power and mining as industries offering medium- to long-term growth, according to the CEO. Murray & Roberts expects growth in fiscal years 2013 and 2014, after seeing a recovery in 2012. It first acquired a stake in Perth-based Clough in 2003.

“Murray & Roberts intends to fund the proposed acquisition through a combination of existing cash, cash on Clough’s balance sheet and modest acquisition financing,” it said in the statement. The company’s “consolidated gross debt position is expected to remain largely unaffected.”

Murray & Roberts traded unchanged at 25.19 rand at the close in the Johannesburg, valuing the company at 11.2 billion rand ($1.14 billion). The stock has gained 1.8 percent this year, compared with a 4.4 percent gain in the FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index.

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