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Crane shareholders urged to reject bid

On Wednesday 12 January 2011, 5:45

Crane Group chairman Leo Tutt is urging the company's shareholders to reject Fletcher Building's offer for the company, which opens on Wednesday.

Fletcher slightly increased its offer for the Sydney-based building and industrial products company on Monday, to one Fletcher share and $A3.47 in cash for each Crane share, a A4c per share increase.

The offer, which equates to $A9.35 per share, was revised to match the price Fletcher paid to some institutional shareholders for a 13.1 per cent stake in Crane immediately before the announcement date.

But in a letter to shareholders, Mr Tutt described the takeover offer as "unsolicited and inadequate".

The Crane board advised shareholders to reject Fletcher's offer.

The offer price undervalued Crane shares, and the timing was opportunistic, given Crane's prospects and the expected recovery in the housing industry, Mr Tutt said.

"Fletcher Building is not paying for the substantial synergies and strategic value that Crane Group can deliver to it."

Crane's target statement was expected to be mailed out to shareholders around the end of January.