Possible offers tabled for Edinburgh’s Exova

Exova CEO Ian El-Mokadem

Edinburgh-based industrial testing firm Exova Group said on Monday it has received proposals for three possible cash offers for the company.

It said the proposals were from Dutch firm Element Materials Technology, Swiss investment firm Jacobs Holding AG and private equity fund PAI Partners SAS.

Exova shares rose about 14% to around 250p to give it a current stock market value of more than £600 million.

Exova’s controlling shareholder Clayton Dubilier & Rice LLC acquired its interest in Exova in a carve-out transaction from Bodycote plc.

The firm tests products used in industries ranging from aerospace to pharmaceuticals for customers that include Boeing, Airbus and Siemens.

Exova operates 135 laboratories and offices in 33 countries and employs around 4,200 people throughout Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa.

Goldman Sachs is advising Exova.

“The possible offers are conditional on, amongst other things, completion of due diligence and the recommendation of the board,” said Exova.

“The board is in discussions with the possible offerors regarding the possible offers.”

Under the UK’s Takeover Code, the potential bidders are required by April 24, 2017, to either announce a firm intention to make an offer or announce they do not intend to make an offer.

“There can be no certainty that any firm offer will be made by any of the possible offerors or the terms on which any offer might be made,” said Exova.

Last month, Exova Group said its 2016 revenue rose 10.8% to £328.6 million and profit before taxation rose 58% to £36.6 million despite weakness in its oil and gas business.