Shareholders in HBG and Dutch dredging company Boskalis gave a lukewarm reception to news that the two companies had agreed a 50:50 merger this week.

The deal was struck after HBG – also based in The Netherlands – fended off a hostile bid by Boskalis in February. City analysts said Boskalis’ shareholders reacted with displeasure because they regard dredging as a more valuable business than HBG’s.

Analysts also said that HBG’s shareholders were concerned that the merger could dilute the benefits of a recovery in the German construction market. Both companies’ share prices dropped about 6%.