* Offering 18 euros per share, up from 17.20 euros
* 72 pct of Dockwise shares bought by or committed to
* Dockwise says offer "encouraging" but still too low
* Dockwise shares up 2.5 percent at 17.89 euros
(Adds Dockwise, analyst comment, shares)
AMSTERDAM, Dec 17 Dutch dredger Boskalis has
raised its hostile offer for maritime transport group Dockwise
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
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 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