Scotland's Weir Group eyes $5.5 bn buyout of Finnish rival Metso Oyj

Scottish pump and drilling equipment maker Weir Group is in talks to buy Finnish rival Metso Oyj in an £3.3-billion ($5.5-billion) deal, The Sunday Times today reported.

Glasgow-based Weir, which has recently gone on an acquisition spree, may pay around as much as €30 a share for Metso, valuing the Helsinki-based company at more than €4 billion (£3.3 billion), the paper said.

Founded in 1999 through the merger of Valmet, a paper and board machine supplier, and Rauma, which focused on fibre technology, rock crushing and flow control solutions, Metso is a supplier of technology, automation and services to the mining, construction, and oil & gas industries.

In 2013, Metso split into two companies, Metso Corporation's Mining and Construction business and Automation business formed the new Metso Corporation and Metso's Pulp, Paper and Power business formed a new independent company under the name Valmet Corporation.

Metso has around 16,000 employees and reported net profit of $429.8 million in 2013 on sales of $5.3 billion.

Founded in 1871, Weir, an FTSE 100 company, is a global provider of engineering solutions to the minerals, oil and gas and power sectors.

With a global network of more than 140 manufacturing facilities and service centres, its customers include the world's largest mining houses, major oil services businesses and nuclear and conventional power generation companies.

In 2013, the company reported revenues of more than £2.43 billion and profit before tax of £418 million. It has net debt of £747 million.

A closed Metso deal would be the latest in a series of acquisitions done by Weir recently.

In 2010, it acquired Malaysian mining services group Linatex, and acquired the Rs1.52-crore valves business of Karnataka-based privately-owned BDK Engineering Industries Limited.

In 2012 it took a majority stake in a South Korean valves business, and acquired Texas-based wellhead specialist Seaboard Holdings for $675 million, in order to expand its presence in the booming North American shale gas market.

It also spent £200 million in buying Australian mining equipment maker Ludowici. -