The takeover battle for airport services group Servisair heated up this week when the company accused Amey of trying to buy it on the cheap.

Servisair's management dismissed Amey's "opportunistic" 200p a share offer in a defence document released this week. In it, chairman John Willis said: "[Amey's] unsolicited, inadequate offer is an attempt to acquire Servisair on the cheap at the expense of Servisair shareholders. The offer in no way reflects the true value of Servisair and I urge Servisair shareholders to reject it." Amey chief executive Brian Staples countered by claiming that Servisair's management had failed to exploit the company's market strength.

"If Servisair's board had any new ideas, surely this was the time to produce them. I am more convinced than ever that Servisair has no future as an independent group and that it is a business that needs Amey's management to re-energise it." He also accused Servisair of trying to puff up its share price by hinting that other offers were in the wind.

Servisair admitted in its defence document that Stephen Walls, one of its non-executive directors, is connected with a possible bid for the company, and has a potential conflict of interest. However, despite a number of reports of other offers from travel businesses, none has yet emerged.

Amey’s offer is an attempt to acquire Servisair on the cheap. It in no way reflects the true value of Servisair

John Willis, Chairman, Servisair

Servisair's shares have more than doubled in value on the back of Amey's offer. They reached 218.5p on 9 February.

Philip Remnant, Servisair's financial adviser at Credit Suisse First Boston, said the company was waiting to see what Amey did next.

"The offer fails to recognise the true potential of Servisair. The ball is back in Amey's court," he said.