Melrose and IMI return £1.2bn to shareholders after selling assets

Suzie Neuwirth
IT WAS a good day for investors in Melrose Industries and IMI yesterday, after both FTSE 100-quoted engineering firms said separately that they would be returning cash to shareholders.

IMI – which makes valves and other equipment for controlling liquids and gas flows – is returning £620m to shareholders after it completed the sale of its beverage dispense and merchandising divisions earlier this month.

The company offloaded the two non-core assets to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway for $1.1bn (£690m) back in October and said at the time that investors would receive a payout. The remaining £70m will be put into the IMI UK pension fund.

Meanwhile Melrose Industries, which invests in struggling engineering companies, improves them and sells them on, will return around £600m – equivalent to 47p per share – after selling a number of businesses last year. In October, it agreed to sell lifting equipment company The Crosby Group and material handling equipment maker Acco Material Handling Solutions to private equity firm KKR for approximately $1bn.

“Returning the value we realise to our shareholders has been a fundamental part of our strategy since Melrose was founded ten years ago,” said chairman Christopher Miller. Shares in Melrose Industries rose 0.64 per cent, while IMI fell 0.84 per cent.