Hoax email claims Chinese bid for Australian mine engineering firm Macmohan Holdings

An email supposedly showing a Chinese takeover bid for Australian comany Macmahon Holdings Ltd was a hoax, the company said today, adding that it would be taking the matter up with regulators.

This follows a suspicious takeover approach for Australian department store David Jones by an unknown British real estate fund in June.

The mine construction firm Macmahon, which was forced call a halt to trading in its shares for a few hours over the matter, came to know of the issue after being contacted by the media.

Macmahon said in a media statement, "Earlier today, Macmahon's general manager, investor relations was contacted by a leading media outlet which had received a copy of an email chain that purported to comprise emails between directors of Macmahon and the chief executive officer. The email chain discussed a supposed approach from a Chinese joint venture about a formal takeover offer for Macmahon at a substantial premium.

"The media outlet sought comment from Macmahon's chief executive officer and provided a copy of the email chain.

"After making internal enquiries the media outlet in question was advised that there was no truth to the matters referred to in the emails and that the emails themselves were false. In a subsequent phone call from the same media outlet, Macmahon was advised that other media outlets had been provided with the same false information.

"At that point, Macmahon requested a trading halt given the heightened risk of trading occurring on the back of false information. Macmahon confirms to the market that no such discussions about a possible offer have taken place.

"Macmahon has no knowledge of who created the false emails and has instructed its lawyers to raise this matter with the ASX and ASIC."