Takeover target Charter snaps up rival Condor

Steve Dinneen
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BID target Charter International has made an acquisition of its own, snapping up a majority stake in Brazilian gas apparatus manufacturer Condor.

Last year Condor had sales of £8.3m, which will be integrated into Condor’s welding unit ESAB’s distribution network. ESAB had sales of £242.3m in South America last year.

Last week Charter rejected a £1.3bn bid from buyout firm Melrose, which it branded “opportunistic”.

The Condor acquisition also comes just weeks after Charter announced the resignation of its chief executive, following a profit warning on problems at ESAB.

Problems at the core unit have pushed Charter’s share price down by almost a third over the last three months, opening it up as a target for Melrose, which specialises in buying underperforming companies, restructuring them and selling them off.

Melrose is looking at paying 780p a share – a 30 per cent premium over Charter’s pre-bid closing price. The offer sent Charter shares soaring 28 per cent to pre-profit warning levels.

Analysts speculate Melrose could split Charter in two if it is successful in its pursuit, separating its air and gas handling unit from ESAB.