East Anglia: May Gurney shareholders back £221m takeover by Kier

May Gurney's head office at Trowse, Norwich

May Gurney's head office at Trowse, Norwich - Credit: Archant

Shareholders of road and rail maintenance company May Gurney have overwhelmingly backed its £221million takeover by construction group Kier.

The offer, which was tabled in April, trumping a bid by rival Costain, received 99.8% support at a general meeting yesterday.

The combined Kier/May Gurney business will have an order book worth £5.7billion and will offer improved services to local authorities and the regulated sector, according to the two companies.

Kier’s offer, which was backed by the May Gurney board, represented a 35% premium on the value of Costain’s earlier approach.

Norwich-based May Gurney, which was founded in 1926 and employs just under 6,000 people, maintains more than 35,000km of roads and more than 500,000 street lights and illuminated signs across the country, working under long-term contracts on behalf of 20 local authorities.

The company is also the fourth largest provider of municipal waste collection services in the UK, covering more than 2.2million households and 19 councils. It also works in partnership with Network Rail and major utilities.

Kier, which employs 10,000 people, is currently involved chiefly in construction, facilities management and property development,

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At the time of the deal in April, Kier chairman Phil White said: “Scale, performance and reputation are three essential elements of a successful services business. The combination of Kier and May Gurney has all three and is a natural fit.”

Following today’s vote, the last day for dealings in May Gurney Shares is expected to be July 3.