Murray & Roberts Falls Sixth Day as Sanral Lodges Damages Claim

  • Longest losing streak since September to six-week low
  • Murray & Roberts, Basil Read Most at Risk in Suit, Thebe says

Murray & Roberts Holdings Ltd., South Africa’s second-largest construction company, fell for a sixth day in its longest losing streak since September after the country’s state-owned road agency lodged a claim for damages against companies for colluding in road-building contracts.

The Johannesburg-based company’s stock fell as much as 4.7% before trading 0.8 percent lower at 12.60 rand as of 11:11 a.m. in Johannesburg. The share has fallen 15 percent in the last six days, its longest stretch of declines since Sept. 29, paring this year’s gain to 57 percent. Basil Read Holdings Ltd., another road builder, fell as much as 5.5 percent in a third day of losses before trading unchanged at 3.65 rand.

The South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd. lodged the claims of between 600 million rand ($39 million) and 760 million rand against seven builders in the High Court in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province, the organization known as Sanral said on Monday, without naming the companies. The court filing comes almost a year after Sanral said it planned to sue builders following an investigation by South Africa’s antitrust body in 2013, which fined 15 companies for collusion over contracts to build stadiums for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.

“All the construction stocks will come under pressure due to the civil case implemented by Sanral,” Bruno van Eck, a trader at Johannesburg-based Thebe Stockbroking, said by e-mail. Murray & Roberts and Basil Read are among companies that may face fines, he said.

The FTSE/JSE Africa Construction & Materials Index fell less than 0.1 percent. The gauge is up 5.5 percent so far this year, compared to a 1.2 percent gain in the benchmark FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index.

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