Bidding war escalates for Ludowici as Weir Group matches FLSmidth offer

Scottish pumps and drilling equipment maker Weir Group yesterday raised its takeover offer for Ludowici to £243 million ($380.7 million), matching a rival bid from Denmark's FLSmidth & Co, as the bidding war escalates for the Australian mining equipment maker.

Glasgow-based Weir, which has recently gone on an acquisition spree, has now raised its offer from its initial January bid of A$7.92 per Ludowici share to A$10.00 per share, valuing the company at around £243 million on a cash and debt free basis, matching a rival bid from Danish engineering firm FLSmidth

Weir, an FTSE 100 company, said its latest offer was conditional upon the Australian regulator rejecting FLSmidth's latest A$10 per share offer since it had said in its initial 23 January A$7.20 offer that its bid price was final and it would not be able to increase it.

Weir wants the Australian Takeovers Panel to reject FLSmidth from increasing its initial offer on the basis that it had undertaken not to increase its initial bid.

Yesterday Ludowici said that it was now "considering the impact of the new Weir proposal in the context of the ongoing Takeovers Panel proceedings and will update the market in due course".

FLSmidth, which supplies the cement and minerals industries globally with everything in engineering, had offered on 23 January to buy Ludowici for A$7.20 a share and Weir put in a rival did on 10 February offering A$7.92 per Ludowici share