Colfax gets yes vote to buy Charter

SHAREHOLDERS in engineering group Charter International accepted the £1.5bn takeover offer from US rival Colfax yesterday in two votes showing majority support for the cash and shares deal.

More than 91 per cent of shareholders equivalent to nearly 88 per cent of all voting rights voted to accept a 910p per share offer from Colfax, in polls at a court meeting and a general meeting yesterday.

Colfax, which makes pumps and valves, said the vote showed “overwhelming” support for its takeover offer, which concluded a turbulent five months of horse-trading for Charter as rival bidder Melrose tried to convince investors to back its own 850p per share indicative bid.

“All the resolutions proposed received the overwhelming support of Charter shareholders,” it said.

But just under nine per cent of shareholders holding 12 per cent of voting rights opposed the takeover, reflecting some ongoing concerns.

Long-term holders of Charter shares had supported the 850p per share offer from Melrose, a UK-based turnaround investment group that has revived the prospects of engineering firms such as Dynacast, which it sold for $590m (£367m) in June.

Shareholders such as Schroders and Aviva Investors argued that Melrose offered them the chance to continue to hold a UK-listed stock while sharing in the upside from Charter’s ongoing success.

More than 75 per cent of all shareholders voted in each of the two polls.

The takeover is now just waiting for court approval to sanction Colfax’s offer, with a hearing scheduled for 12 January next year. Colfax said it expected to complete the deal on 13 January.