Murray & Roberts Clough Division Sells Its Stake in Forge

Murray & Roberts Holdings Ltd., South Africa’s second-largest construction company, said its Clough Ltd. unit in Australia sold its 36 percent stake in Forge Group Ltd. services provider for A$187 million ($195.8 million).

Clough will use proceeds from the disposal of about 30.9 million shares in Forge to “deliver shareholder value” through acquisitions or “capital management initiatives,” Johannesburg-based Murray & Roberts said in a statement today. The sale was arranged under a block trade agreement with Macquarie Capital (Australia) Ltd.

Murray & Roberts returned to profit in the six months through December, with net income of 262 million rand ($28 million) compared with a loss of 528 million rand a year earlier. Perth-based Clough, an energy, chemical and mining engineering business that’s 62 percent-owned by the South African company, posted a fourfold jump in operating profit in the period, excluding figures from Forge.

Murray & Roberts rose as much as 3.5 percent to 24.04 rand and was trading up 1.6 percent at 4:19 p.m. in Johannesburg. That pared the stock’s decline this year to 4.7 percent, compared with a 0.3 percent gain in the seven-member FTSE/JSE Africa Construction and Building Materials Index. Clough fell 4 percent to A$1.31 and Forge declined 2.9 percent to A$6.10 at the close in Sydney.