HeidelbergCement AG said on Thursday it was looking at the possibility of acquiring British building materials company Hanson Plc.
Shares in Hanson shot up to close 20.4 per cent higher at 1,025 pence on the announcement, valuing the world’s largest supplier of sand and gravel for buildings at around 7.3 billion pounds ($14.6bn).
" HeidelbergCement is currently reviewing its options with respect to its interest in Hanson, including the possibility of seeking to acquire the company," it said in a statement.
"However, there can be no certainty that an acquisition will result or what the terms of such an acquisition may be," it added.
It said a further announcement would be made as appropriate in due course.
Shares in HeidelbergCement were up 1.2 percent at 119 euros.
HeidelbergCement, which is controlled by German billionaire Adolf Merckle, said this year it was targeting strategic acquisitions to fuel expansion plans.
Shares in Hanson had climbed earlier after traders cited talk of an unknown stake build in the company.
Hanson, which has been the target of persistent takeover speculation, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Hanson has been tipped by media and analysts as a potential bid target as it is the sole remaining major heavy building materials firm left in British ownership.
The British company said last month the trading outlook for 2007 remained unchanged but a difficult U.S. residential market and weak dollar could put pressure on its first half results.