Kloeckner Advances Most in Four Years on Interfer Buy

Kloeckner & Co. SE, Europe’s largest independent steel trader, rose the most in almost four years in Frankfurt as Interfer Holding GmbH bought a 7.82 percent stake.

The company rose 16 percent, the biggest advance since April 2009. Interfer owns Kloeckner’s rival Knauf Interfer SE, which is planning to expand, and said today in a statement that the deal was a “strategic investment.”

Interfer Holding belongs to the family of Dortmund-based entrepreneur Albrecht Knauf, 70. Anja Kleine-Wilde, a company spokeswoman, declined to comment on whether Albrecht Knauf would raise his stake further.

“Kloeckner shares are priced relatively attractively,” Christian Obst, a Baader Bank AG analyst, said of the Duisburg, Germany-based company. “It’s not a bad time to buy now.”

The company rose to 10.88 euros by the close in Frankfurt with about 5.64 million shares traded, about 8.5 times the three-month daily average. Obst’s price estimate is 14 euros.

Knauf Interfer had sales of about 1 million metric tons and 1,600 staff in 2012, while revenue was about 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) the year before, Kleine-Wilde said by phone from Essen. The company doesn’t have operations outside of Europe, while Kloeckner has businesses in the U.S. and Asia.

Kloeckner’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization would rise to at least 190 million euros this year on cost cuts, Chief Executive Officer Gisbert Ruehl told Deutsches Anleger Fernsehen in January. Ruehl saw “hope” for a recovery in demand in the second half and an increase in 2014, driven by China and the U.S., he told the broadcaster.

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