Anglo American snaffles aggregates group Johnston from under the noses of rival bidder Ennstone

Anglo, the world’s biggest mining company, made a £53m cash offer for aggregates and engineering company Johnston yesterday, trumping a £43.8m bid by the building materials group Ennstone earlier this month.

Anglo, which has a 25% stake in Johnston through its Tarmac division, said that it would be paying 491p a share for the rest of the company. The news saw Johnstone’s jump 80p to 485p.

As part of the deal Anglo agreed to sell Johnstone’s Leinthall quarry to Ennstone for £11.25m.

The Johnstone family, led by Michael Johnstone, had accepted Ennstone’s cash and share offer but company chairman Chris Woodwark believed that he could get a better offer for the company. He set up an independent board of directors to seek alternative offers for Johnston.

Robbie Robertson, the chief executive of Anglo Industrial Minerals, said: "The integration of Johnston's construction materials business represents an attractive opportunity to enhance our strategy in the UK and follows our original investment in acquiring 24.9 per cent in 2002 and 2003."