Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

GKN to reorganise after rejecting takeover bid

A decision by GKN whose technology is used in the Ariane 5 rocket to separate its aerospace and automotive business after an approach has boosted its shares GKN - Offer rejected, Automotive and Aerospace to separate
Laurie Berry | 13 January, 2018, 10:35

GKN will now work on plans to split the business between its aerospace and automotive divisions.

The blue chip share index rose at 0.19%, up 15 points at 7,778.24 by 10.52 GMT. Those calls became louder after a profit warning in October, which was sparked by the difficulties at its aerospace business.

Melrose said its cash-and-share offer is aimed at reversing GKN management's history of "not delivering on margin targets", and improve its businesses before a breakup, enabling them to exceed current profitability goals.

Following the warning, its proposed chief executive Kevin Cummings was ousted from the business even before he took up the post and was replaced by non-executive director Anne Stevens on a temporary basis.

On the appointment of Stevens as new chief executive, the firm's chairman Mike Turner said she "has the track record to transform GKN", pointing to her "successful turnaround" of The Ford Motor Company's Mexico, Canada and South America businesses and senior roles at Carpenter Technology and Lockheed Martin.

Instead, the firm confirmed in a statement on Friday it had chose to split out the automotive and aerospace into two separate companies as part of a two-year "transformation programme", ending months of speculation over the firm's future.

GKN's board dismissed the offer from Melrose in a unanimous decision.

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"The board of GKN has considered the proposal. and has unanimously rejected it, having concluded that the proposal is entirely opportunistic and that the terms fundamentally undervalue the company and its prospects", it said in a statement reported by Reuters.

Ms Stevens, who at 69 has extensive experience in the aerospace and automotive sectors, said she would instill a much stronger performance and accountability culture at the group, which employs 58,000 people across 30 countries. "I am relishing the challenge of delivering that potential with a new group-wide improvement programme underway".

While that plan does not yet entail a full separate listing, it could make one possible in the future. The Board will give further details on how it intends to do this in due course.

Melrose seeks to buy struggling engineering companies or manufacturers and then sell them on once they've improved the business.

It said both businesses would benefit from being separate companies with distinct investment profiles and capital allocation policies.

Involving paper in its GKN bid is a departure from its usual strategy of raising funds for acquisition through rights issues.

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