CFE Climbs Most in 2 Decades on Ackermans Offer: Brussels Mover

Cie. d’Entreprises CFE SA, the construction company that owns half of Dredging Environmental & Marine Engineering NV, rose the most in two decades in Brussels trading after Ackermans & van Haaren NV offered to buy CFE for 451 million euros ($610 million).

CFE shares climbed as much as 19% to 51.32 euros following the offer of 45 euros per share, the biggest intraday percentage gain since at least 1994 and the highest price since July 2011. The stock traded at 48.39 euros, or 12 percent higher, at 11:02 a.m. local time. Ackermans rose as much as 4.4 percent.

Ackermans, based in Antwerp, Belgium, agreed to transfer its 50 percent stake in DEME to CFE for stock valuing the dredging company at 1.1 billion euros. Ackermans will also buy half of Vinci SA’s holding in CFE for about 138 million euros in cash, boosting its stake in CFE to 60.4 percent prior to the mandatory offer.

“The transaction is an excellent timed grandmaster move by AvH’s management, effectively allowing to gain control over this prime dredging asset, unlocking its value, while paying a very attractive price,” Matthias Maenhaut, an analyst at ING Groep in Brussels, said in note to investors.

For CFE shareholders, the offer is “too low” as the company is worth at least 52 euros a share, according to Tijs Hollestelle, another analyst at ING in Amsterdam. The offer for CFE represented a 4.3 percent premium on yesterday’s closing price and an enterprise value ratio for DEME of 4.6 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

“Although we consider this a done deal, current shareholders in CFE should bear in mind that a potential float of DEME, or part later on, would very likely go at an EV/EBITDA multiple of 5.6 times to 6 times indicating a much higher value than this transaction implies,” Hollestelle wrote.

KBC Securities raised its recommendation for CFE to “buy” from “accumulate” and increased its price estimate to 65 euros from 50 euros.

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