WorleyParsons leaps after Dubai’s Dar Group reveals stake

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Shares in Australian energy services company WorleyParsons jumped by about 30 per cent today after Dar Group, a Dubai-based consulting group, revealed it had taken a 13.35 per cent stake in the company.

Privately-owned Dar Al-Handasah Consultants Shair and Partners, which Worley confirmed as having made a takeover offer in November, said in a note to the ASX today it had acquired an 8.61 per cent stake via physical shares and exposure of 4.74 per cent by way of a cash-settled equity swap exposure.

Dar said it had purchased the stake “with a long term strategic perspective and looks forward to being a supportive shareholder.”

In a separate filing to the ASX, Worley confirmed it received a confidential and highly conditional proposal from Dar Group on November 14 to acquire all shares in the company for cash consideration of A$11.80 per share, or A$2.9bn ($2.2bn). The Board concluded the proposal materially undervalued the company and knocked back the deal. Dar said today there had been no further discussions between the parties since then.

Dar said it regards Worley as the “preeminent energy and design consultancy globally and respects the role the Chairman, Board and management team have played in establishing this market leading position.”

Shares rose 29.6 per cent to A$10.46 around midday in Sydney, the highest level since July 2015, having been up as much as 31.6 per cent. Worley shares closed at A$8.57 in November on the day Dar made its indicative proposal.

Worley swung to a net loss of A$2.4m in the December half as it booked hefty restructuring costs, but asserted customer sentiment was improving and activity levels had bottomed out.

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