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By Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com — Shares in Devro (LON:DVO) surged 60% on Friday after the maker of collagen products for the food industry said it had agreed to be bought by one of Germany’s richest family-owned companies for some £530 million (£1=$1.2104).
The deal adds to a trend of foreign acquisitions of smaller U.K. businesses which have traded at a discount to their peers across the continent as the U.K. economy struggles to recover from the after-effects of Brexit and the pandemic. The buyer, Saria, is a Dutch-based unit of Germany’s Rethmann group, which also owns the Rhenus logistics business.
Devro shareholders will receive 316.1 pence a share in cash, as well as the dividend already approved by its board.
The price – which equates to an enterprise value of £667 million once Devro’s debt is included – represents a premium of 65% over Thursday’s closing price and an 80% premium over the average price during the last month.
Devro said Saria “intends to maintain and invest in Devro’s seven manufacturing sites to increase their capacity” and also “plans to undertake a detailed review of Devro’s research and development function, with the potential for additional investment.”
Saria CEO Hans van Boxtel said the deal “will bring together two leading international businesses with complementary product portfolios, particularly in the sausage casings market, providing a platform for sustainable and scalable growth in highly attractive and dynamic categories.”
The bid will be a welcome exit for Devro’s long-suffering shareholders: the company’s share price peaked over 20 years ago, and despite staging a recovery after the financial crisis, it has languished ever since the U.K. announced its referendum to leave the European Union in 2016.