Exova shares jump following trio of bid approaches

Exova, the Edinburgh-headquartered industrial materials testing business, saw more than £70 million added to its market value yesterday as its stock soared after the weekend confirmation that it had received three takeover approaches.
Exova is led by chief executive Ian El-Mokadem. Picture: ContributedExova is led by chief executive Ian El-Mokadem. Picture: Contributed
Exova is led by chief executive Ian El-Mokadem. Picture: Contributed

The group, whose clients include multi‑nationals Boeing and Ford, saw its shares close up 13 per cent, or 29.12p, at 248p – giving it a new market capitalisation of about £620m.

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Exova, which took a public listing at a stock price of 220p in April 2014, had issued a statement on Sunday evening saying that it had noted media reports and confirming that it had received takeover approaches from Dutch group Element Materials Technology, Jacobs Holding and PAI Partners SAS.

The company, which has about 200 staff north of the Border, including a laboratory in Aberdeen, has said that it is in talks with the three parties about possible cash offers.

It said the offer approaches were subject to “due diligence and the recommendation of the board”. Exova’s controlling investor, Clayton Dubilier & Rice, has a 54 per cent holding.

Exova has struggled with the sharp decline in commodity prices in recent years, and gave warning last August that the Brexit vote had made the company more cautious about investing in the UK.

Earlier this month group chief executive Ian El-Mokadem unveiled a 7.7 per cent rise in annual adjusted profits to £43.5m on a near-11 per cent lift in revenues to £328.6m, but said the oil and gas industry remained tough.

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