Belfast Telegraph

Berendsen again rebuffs £2bn takeover bid from French firm Elis

Commercial laundry services firm Berendsen has repeated its rejection of a £2 billion takeover tilt from French rival Elis and said it was on course to boost profits by £20 million next year.

London-listed Berendsen said the approach "significantly undervalues" the company and the combined business would pose a greater risk to shareholders than if the firm remained independent.

The comments came as the company stood by its 2017 forecast for an adjusted operating profit of £150 million and said the figure for 2018 was likely to hit £170 million.

Elis has already had two offers rebuffed by Berendsen, including a revised £11.73-a-share approach. The Paris-based firm warned earlier this month that it was prepared to go hostile in order to push the deal through.

Berendsen chairman Iain Ferguson said: "We are pleased the underline the board's confidence in the strategy of Berendsen by reconfirming our 2017 profit forecast and announcing a 2018 profit forecast of approximately £170 million.

"The board firmly believes that Berendsen has the right strategy management team and capital structure to deliver significant value for the Berendsen shareholders over the medium-term as an independent company."

Berendsen, formerly known as The Davis Service Group, has already unveiled plans for a three-year £450 million investment drive that would expand the operation in Europe and replace plant and machinery in Britain.

Elis said previously that the two companies would ''create a strong Pan-European leader in textile and facility services'', with the potential for ''significant'' cost savings.

The group's offer marks a 36% premium on Berendsen's shares, as of Wednesday May 17's closing price.

Berendsen, which employs more than 9,000 staff across 60 sites, provides laundry and cleaning services to clients across industry and the NHS.