Consultant says it is considering a number of offers for the business
Engineering consultant and outsourcing firm Mouchel has secured its long-awaited re-financing and said it is reviewing a number of approaches to buy its business.
In a statement to the city, Mouchel said it had also appointed corporate financial adviser Hawkpoint to help it achieve a sale of “non-core” parts of the business.
Mouchel said its re-financing will give it a new debt facility of £170m lasting until March 2014 at up to 4% interest rate. However the agreement, with its consortium of bankers led by Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and RBS, also commits it to meet a number of repayments, or risk the rate rising.
It has to make two repayments each of £7.5m on 31 July 2012 and 31 July 2013, and an additional voluntary repayment of £30m. If that has not been made before 31 May 2012, interest rates can rise 2%. Mouchel is also not allowed to pay dividends to shareholders until this payment has been made.
Mouchel is considering the latest approach to buy it by contractor Costain, after rejecting earlier bids which it said undervalued its business. However, today it said that while Costain’s bid had been made in public, it was also reviewing other approaches. It said: “We are actively reviewing all of the approaches that we have received and our other options. Our priority remains enhancing shareholder value and we continue to urge shareholders to take no action.”
The firm also said trading had been in line with expectations, and that it still expected to realise cost savings of £25m over its financial year. It also said it was still owed £20m by Dubai developer Nakheel.
Chief executive Richard Cuthbert said the re-financing was an important turning point for Mouchel. “It provides the group with stability and ensures that we can continue to compete successfully in our chosen markets. Although we are still operating in challenging conditions, the fundamentals of our business and the medium to long-term opportunities for the group remain strong,” he said.