(Adds transaction details, company and analyst comments)
BRUSSELS, Sept 19 Belgium's Ackermans & Van
Haaren will acquire a majority stake in construction
group CFE by buying shares from France's Vinci
, the groups said on Thursday.
As a result of several transactions jointly worth 680
million euros ($921 million), holding group Ackermans, which
currently does not have any shares in CFE, will end up with
60.39 percent of the Belgian construction group and Vinci will
keep a 12.1 percent stake.
By having a majority stake in CFE, Ackermans will gain
greater control over dredger DEME, a prized asset with an order
book of close to 3 billion euros, that both companies now own
For Vinci, which so far has had a 46.8 percent stake in CFE,
the deal will mean a lower exposure to a company that has
struggled to keep its other businesses profitable as the
European construction industry faces economic headwinds.
By Belgian law, Ackermans will now have to make a full bid
for CFE and will do so at 45 euros per share, just above
Thursday's closing price of 43.15 euros, but a spokesman said
taking full control of CFE was not the group's intention.
"We hope other shareholders will trust us in this project
and remain with us," a spokesman said.
Analysts said Ackermans' intention not to take over the
whole company was aso made clear because Vinci would remain a
"Vinci is on many levels a strategic partner for Ackermans
and the 12 percent they will end up holding is a sustainable
level," KBC Securities analyst Jan De Vleeschauwer said.
In a complex transaction, Vinci will sell half of its 46.8
percent stake in CFE to Ackermans for 45 euros per share, or
about 135 million euros.
Ackermans will then sell its 50 percent stake in DEME to CFE
in exchange for about 550 million euros ($745 million) of newly
issued CFE shares, further diluting Vinci's stake to 12.1
DEME, which is involved in projects such as the construction
of ports and offshore windfarms, saw its net profit increase by
a quarter in the first half of 2013.
($1 = 0.7384 euros)
(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Anthony Barker)