Bottom Line: Takeover chatter won’t go away so Brown is right to aim high

 
Elizabeth Fournier
KENTZ boss Christian Brown made it clear yesterday that the firm was not ready to compromise on price in its ongoing takeover battle with various suitors.
Yesterday’s results, including new orders valued at $979m (£630m) and a $2.8bn backlog, should certainly give the industry veteran some breathing room – especially if what he’s really after is higher bids.
With shares hovering well within Amec’s offer of 565p-580p, Brown is right to hold his nerve.
Yesterday’s solid results prove Amec’s offer was much too low – and even shareholders’ mooted go-point of 650p is starting to look like it undervalues the firm.
Luckily for those in favour of a sale, such a decent set of results is unlikely to dissuade suitors, and though insiders have suggested Brown is loath to sell after just 18 months in charge, if the price is right then his board will make the decision easy.
With more than two weeks left until the deadline for Amec to come back with a formal offer investors still have some way to go before they know if hanging in there has been worth it, but Brown’s confidence – and the orders to back it up – suggest that whatever the outcome they won’t be disappointed.
ALL ABOARD BUNZL FOR A SMOOTHER RIDE
THOSE looking for a calmer ride on their return from the summer hiatus, meanwhile, could do worse than to look to yesterday’s other big reporter – Bunzl.
The group (which distributes packaging, cleaning supplies and display equipment across various sectors) has a reputation for steady-as-she goes results, and yesterday’s were no different.
With shares moving another notch higher on their upward climb – they’ve gained 36 per cent since January – Bunzl investors should keep their skin in the game as it continues its acquisition haul.