...as it races Costain in bid for Mouchel

ENGINEERING and construction firm Costain said it has not pulled out of the bidding for Mouchel, despite the support services group turning to Interserve as preferred suitor.

“We haven’t walked away and we are very much in an offer period,” said chief executive Andrew Wyllie.

But Costain added it was also pursuing a number of large acquisition targets after reporting a 54 per cent rise in profits last year to £27.9m, on revenues of £1.02bn.

Costain was rejected by Mouchel despite improving on its previous proposal of 0.5531 Costain shares plus 30p in cash for each Mouchel share, with the target turning instead to an unspecified alternative offer from maintenance and outsourcing group Interserve.

“We are the preferred offeror at this stage of the game, so at this stage there’s no reason to suggest that that could change,” Interserve chief Adrian Ringrose said yesterday, adding he sees no further Mouchel developments for a number of weeks as it carries out due diligence.