The £1bn bid by Henderson, an investment fund, for contractor John Laing is by far the biggest deal of the quarter so far but Wolseley, the building materials group, has been the most active firm in the acquisition market
The tussle for the firm has gone on for two months and there is still time for another bid to emerge.
Wolseley, which topped the table last quarter with a £1.3bn offer for the DT Group, shows no sign of slowing down, adding 15 companies over this period. Its biggest chunk of deals was the £111m it paid for six companies in Europe and USA.
The firm has spent at least £233m on acquisitions since September. At the end of last month it also bought three firms (Adelgaard Byggeform, Ditac and Kempsvill Building Materials) for an undisclosed amount.
Chip Hornsby, group chief executive of Wolseley hinted at more deals. “Making bolt-on acquisitions is an important part of delivering double-digit growth and the pipeline for the year remains strong,” he said.
Wolseley was not the only company with a long shopping list. Support service group Mouchel Parkman snapped up three companies for £49m. The biggest was highway services company Traffic Support, for £26m. It also bought the Hornagold & Hills Partnership, a project manager, for £11.4m and water consultant the Ewan Group for £11m. They are expected to add £30m to turnover at Mouchel Parkman.
Acquisitions are an important part of delivering double digit growth
Chip Hornsby, boss of Wolseley
There was plenty of activity in the materials sector, as Ennstone was also busy. The company scored a hat-trick, its biggest acquisition being Berwyn Granite Quarries for £18m.
White Young Green made two surprise acquisitions. The announcement that it had bought civil engineer Adams Kara Taylor for £10.5m was seen as a coup for the consultant. It also snapped up London project manager Trench Farrow for £4.5m.
Despite rumours about deals in the housing sector it remained a quiet period for housebuilders. Morris Homes secured the only reported trade of the quarter, buying Badger Homes for an undisclosed sum.
n Lafarge, the French building materials firm, is to sell its roofing business to private equity group PAI Partners in a £1.6bn deal. This includes £1.3bn in cash for the shares and about £283m of debt and pension liabilities.
In the six months to 30 June, the roofing arm posted a 6.6% rise in sales to £488m, compared with the same period last year. It accounted for 8% of Lafarge’s overall interim sales. Lafarge will retain a 35% stake in the new business and have seats on the board.