Belfast Telegraph

GKN bankers to share more than £100m in fees after failed takeover defence

Melrose bought GKN for £8.1 billion in a controversial deal last month.

Bosses at engineering giant GKN spent £107 million on advisers in their unsuccessful defence of the takeover by Melrose, new figures show.

Costs for the likes of Gleacher Shacklock, JPMorgan, UBS, Credit Suisse and Barclays are much higher than the previously announced £80 million, which did not include fees for GKN’s aborted Driveline sale to Dana.

As part of its defence against Melrose, GKN attempted to offload Driveline to US firm Dana, and the engineering firm has also been stung with a £40 million break fee payment.

Melrose bought GKN for £8.1 billion in a controversial deal last month after a long and bitter battle.

Rothschild, RBC and Investec, which advised Melrose, are also set to walk away with tens of millions.

The figures come as Melrose lifted the lid on GKN’s performance prior to its ownership.

It said profits at GKN came in below expectations for the first quarter, but Melrose said it remains confident that it can turn the firm around.

GKN saw group operating profit fall from £215.1 million to £181.5 million in the period, while sales were broadly flat at £2.6 billion.

Melrose said the numbers show a “continuation of the trend” of GKN prioritising sales growth at the expense of operating margins.

GKN’s aerospace division saw revenue fall 1% as the North American business “continued to struggle and was loss-making for the period”.

Melrose described the operating performance of the unit as “unacceptable” and said it would address it as a key immediate objective.

Driveline booked a 7% rise in sales and powder metallurgy 5%.

GKN’s net debt at the end of March was £1.12 billion, up from £889 million at the end of last year.

Melrose added: “The GKN performance in the period before Melrose ownership showed trends below current market expectations for GKN for profit and cash generation.

“While this gives Melrose a lower starting point for GKN than current market consensus opinion, Melrose allowed for further under-performance by GKN prior to its ownership in its acquisition assumptions, and remains confident it will be able to deliver on all the statements it made during the offer period over the medium term, including creating significant shareholder value by improving the performance of the GKN businesses over time and being a responsible owner for all stakeholders.”

Last week, Melrose confirmed that board directors of GKN have stepped down, including chief executive Anne Stevens and chief financial officer Jos Sclater.

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