Hanson could be the takeover target the City forgot. Shares of the construction materials maker have slowly but surely climbed to a five-year high of 686p, up a further 3p yesterday, on persistent buying. The 150p or so rise over the past few months has gone almost unnoticed by professional punters who have been too busy overdosing on a constant deluge of bid rumours in the financial and transport sectors.
Hanson now stands alone in the global building materials industry and has the ability to generate £500m cash. Its asbestos exposure has long been perceived as a poison pill to any bidder. But last November’s purchase of Georgia Pacific, the US paper and building products group, by privately-owned Koch Industries, in spite of its asbestos liabilities, appears to have moved the goalposts. Rumours of a possible approach by an overseas private equity player continues to do the rounds. Lafarge, the world’s second biggest cement company, has often been mentioned in the same breath as Hanson too. (abstracted from UK Daily Mail)