Boskalis raises offer for Dockwise to $936 million

AMSTERDAM Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:59am EST

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch dredger Boskalis has raised its hostile offer for maritime transport group Dockwise DOCKW.AS to 714 million euros ($936 million) to try to win over the 28 percent of shareholders yet to accept its offer.

Boskalis wants to buy Dockwise, which transports oil and gas drilling platforms and other large objects via ships, to expand in the oil and gas services industry and make more efficient use of equipment, staff and vessels worldwide.

Boskalis raised its offer to 18 euros per share on Monday, from 17.20 euros, and said it has received a commitment from Project Holland Beheer, which has a 7.4 percent stake, to tender its shares.

Analysts expect the deal to be completed, even though Dockwise reiterated that the offer price was still too low.

"Now that Project Holland has committed, the group of shareholders that opposed the bid could be falling apart, as only (asset manager) Sankaty remains as a large shareholder. We can imagine that it is now game, set, and match," KBC Securities analyst Michael Roeg said in research note.

Boskalis, which plans a broader use of Dockwise's vessels in dredging, offshore, and salvage projects, had already received support from Dutch investment firm HAL, which owns 32 percent of Dockwise.

Dockwise itself said while it was "encouraged" by the new offer, it was still too low and it would continue talking to Boskalis about the intended offer.

Dockwise shares were up 2.7 percent to 17.92 euros at 0945 GMT, while Boskalis shares were up 0.1 percent.

Boskalis said it would try to obtain the support and recommendation of the board of directors of Dockwise.

($1 = 0.7628 euro)

(Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing Sara Webb and Dan Lalor)

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