Melrose pushes Charter offer as earnings please

MANUFACTURING investor Melrose hit back at critics of its bid for engineering group Charter International yesterday as it reported strong performances from its portfolio of companies in the first half.

Melrose, which has had its 840p per share offer for Charter rejected by the company’s board, called for an extension to the current “put up or shut up” Takeover Panel deadline of 6 September to allow it to present a more attractive offer.

But chief operating officer Simon Peckham defended its price and said he believed Charter’s biggest shareholders would prefer its part-share offer to a higher cash-only deal from another bidder.

“We want them to extend the put up or shut up deadline, we think they should,” he told City A.M. “We are saying to the board they should respect their shareholders views.”

The bid talk overshadowed Melrose’s results, which showed its portfolio’s order book up 18 per cent compared with June 2010, while pre-tax profit rose 32 per cent to £74.9m. Revenues were up nine per cent to £555.9m.