Charter in plan to stop takeover

ENGINEERING group Charter International is said to be considering a break-up plan to stave off an unwanted takeover approach.

Goldman Sachs is thought to be looking into a sale or demerger of Howden, the subsidiary that accounts for around a third of Charter’s £1.7bn revenues.

The plan follows Charter’s refusal on Friday to accept an improved offer from manufacturing buyout firm Melrose. It valued the British industrial toolmaker at £1.4bn.

Charter’s board said the offer was “opportunistic and undervalues the company and its prospects”.

The latest bid, pitched at 840p per share, is eight per cent higher than an earlier offer from Melrose, but is still at the level Charter shares were trading at in May, before falling sales and management issues hit the stock. Analysts have said Charter could be worth up to 900p per share.

On Friday, Charter also named Gareth Williams as its new chief executive with the 49-year-old saying in a statement he would “explore a full range of strategic options to... maximise value for shareholders”.

Williams replaces Mark Foster, who resigned the post in June shortly after the company announced a profit warning.