Sharechat Logo

Family keeps out Aussies

By Nick Stride

Friday 30th May 2003

Text too small?
The family of the late Sir Robert Owens, founder of New Zealand transport icon Owens Group, has pitched in to help forestall a takeover by Australia's Toll Holdings.

Fellow trucking company Mainfreight bought a 10.1% blocking stake from two of Sir Robert's daughters, Robin Owens and Denise Donald.

Market analysts believe Toll, which two weeks ago took a 10% stake in Tranz Rail and is expected to make a full takeover offer, is interested in building a commanding position in the fragmented transport sector whether or not it gets Tranz Rail. Toll has done due diligence on Tranz Rail's trucking subsidiary Tranz Link.

Mainfreight managing director Don Braid played down his company's move, saying it bought the stake "because the opportunity arose" and was "good value" at 96c. He said he had no reason to believe anyone was interested in buying Owens.

Analysts said the circumstances of Mainfreight's buying left no doubt it was securing a blocking stake. It bought all the 6.83% stake held by Denise Donald and two others for $3.7 million and just enough of Robin Owens' 7.55% stake ­ 3.25% ­ to take it clear of 10%, enough to stop any other company from securing Owens' cashflows.

Mainfreight's blocking stake will come in handy if Toll pursues its transport sector aims. The Australian company has a market capitalisation of about $2.3 billion and conservative debt levels, so it could buy Owens Group, which has a current market value of $53 million, without blinking.

Mainfreight's market capitalisation is $102 million. With interest-bearing debt of $56 million and a net debt-to-equity ratio of 109.2% it has little latitude to take on large amounts of additional debt.

Owens on Wednesday sold its Hirepool equipment-hire business to a consortium of J B Were Private Equity Fund No 1 and business couple Sharon Hunter and Tenby Powell.

  General Finance Advertising    

Comments from our readers

No comments yet

Add your comment:
Your name:
Your email:
Not displayed to the public
Comments to Sharechat go through an approval process. Comments which are defamatory, abusive or in some way deemed inappropriate will not be approved. It is allowable to use some form of non-de-plume for your name, however we recommend real email addresses are used. Comments from free email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc may not be approved.

Related News:

Rio Tinto decision following strategic review of Tiwai
Contact says smelter closure is ‘disappointing’
South Port (SPN) Statement on NZAS Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter Closure
Rio Tinto announcement on Tiwai Aluminium Smelter
Me Today announces equity raising to accelerate growth
Scott Technology Trading Update; Rising to the COVID Challenge
New non-binding indicative offer received from apvg, shareholder meeting deferred
U.S. Added 4.8 Million Jobs in June as Reopened Businesses Rehired
Auditors have a duty to be alert to fraud
Strong sales recovery but uncertainty remains over economic outlook and potential second wave of COVID-19

IRG See IRG research reports