Hochtief plans Züblin bid

01 May 2008

Hochtief has announced its intention to bid for the 48,7% share of Züblin formerly owned by Walter Bau. The announcement of intent was made last month (April) but the company said it needed more information before submitting a formal offer.

The 48,7% is currently held by Bayerische Landesbank (LB), one of Walter Bau's creditors, which took control of it as security against outstanding debts.

The Lenz family and Strabag are the other two current bidders for the stake. The Lenz family already owns 43% of Züblin, and has offered a reported € 62 million for LB's shares. Strabag recently acquired 4,8% of Züblin through its acquisition Dywidag Holdings – formed from parts of the insolvent Walter Bau group – and has offered € 58 million for LB's holding.

However, Strabag has not ruled out increasing its offer for Züblin. It plans to merge the company with its other German activities, which it says would create estimated savings of € 32,2 million a year. Strabag chairman Dr Hans-Peter Haselsteiners has said the company is willing to negotiate for Züblin “if the price is not enough”. Dr Haselsteiners has also been quoted as saying that if an industrial merger does not go ahead, which is to say if the Lenz family's bid succeeds, that he expects the Züblin to hold out on its own for “no more than five to ten years”ce

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