Shares in Tibbett & Britten surged sharply today after the logistics group confirmed it had received a takeover approach.
The operating, IT and distribution group, which employs 19,000 people worldwide, is thought to have attracted interest from sector heavyweight Exel.
Tibbett said the approach was at a “significant premium” to last night’s share price of 490p. Analysts believe the group could attract an offer worth up to 600p a share, a move that values Tibbett at around £291m (€438.7m).
The rise in the Tibbett share price reflected those expectations, with the FTSE 250 Index stock lifting 19% to 583p following the announcement.
Tibbett recently encouraged investors by reporting that the first part of its financial year had been in line with expectations and ahead of last year.
Deals with companies including Procter & Gamble, Michelin, Kraft and Kimberly Clark had helped it secure additional revenues of £121m (€182.4m).
At £2.1bn (€3.2bn), Exel is valued at considerably more than Tibbett and boasts contracts with blue-chip clients including Marks & Spencer and Mothercare.
The company is also in the midst of a major expansion drive, including the addition of 1,000 jobs to handle work for DIY group B&Q at a £65m (€98m) distribution centre at Worksop, Nottinghamshire.
In April, the group unveiled a 12.6% hike in annual profits to £148.4m (€223.7m) for the year to December 31. Turnover was 10.4% ahead at £5.07bn (€7.6bn).
Although turnover at Tibbett grew 8% to £1.63bn (€2.5bn) in the 12 months to December 31, pre-tax profits dropped to £20.1m (€30.3m) from £29.4m (€44.3m) a year ago. That was partly due to operating losses of £1.2m (€1.8m) at its Americas division.