Walter Bau takeover: Haselsteiner gratified by clear support for the deal from the creditors' committee (DE/AT)

After the creditors' committee for insolvent Walter Bau-AG had yesterday unanimously approved STRABAG's takeover package, Hans Peter Haselsteiner, Chairman of the executive board of Bauholding STRABAG SE, stated at the subsequent press conference that he was confident that the plan would soon also receive the approval of the European monopoly authorities, mentioning that the injunction not to proceed with the takeover had already been provisionally lifted.

The takeover package embraces the newly founded DYWIDAG Holding GmbH, which comprises DYWIDAG SF- und Ing. Bau GmbH, DYWIDAG Bau GmbH and Walter Heilit Verkehrswegebau GmbH, together with DYWIDAG International GmbH, and Dyckerhoff & Widmann Ges.m.b.H., Austria. The package also includes a 4.9 per cent interest in Ed. Züblin AG, Stuttgart.

Haselsteiner stated that he was very gratified to note that the creditors' committee had come out in clear favour of the corporate concept, amongst other things because this meant that the disruptive tactics employed by two rivals immediately before the insolvency proceedings opened on 1 April, and on the evening before yesterday's creditors' committee meeting, had misfired completely. Haselsteiner stressed that the most important aspect of the package was, however, that it would save more than 3,100 jobs in the Walter Bau-Group. The amalgamation would provide the already strong STRABAG Group with even greater clout, enabling it to expand its position as Germany's market leader in road construction and â€" with the additional strength provided by a strong civil engineering business and by the rounding-off of its turnkey building network â€" to emerge as the clear number 1 on the German market.

The Chairman went on to say that Walter Heilit Verkehrswegebau GmbH would operate under the name of Heilit Woerner Bau GmbH and focus its road construction activities on its core competencies of concrete pavements and large-scale projects. STRABAG Strassenbau on the other hand would tend to concentrate on asphalt pavements and small to medium-sized projects.

It was particularly against the background of the massive headhunting manoeuvres undertaken by Bilfinger Berger AG that Haselsteiner emphasised the long-term key role that Heilit Woerner Verkehrswegebau played in the STRABAG Group's strategic planning. He said that now that the lines had been clearly drawn, he was banking on various top executives now being convinced of the advantages of staying with an extremely well-established road construction company with clear strategic positioning. One thing was certain: both the company and the insolvency administrator would resort to every legal means to oppose measures which clearly violated Germany's law against unfair competition (the UWG) and would take steps against their perpetrators, regardless of whether they were former employees, organs or competitors.

DYWIDAG would chiefly concentrate on heavy civil engineering projects in addition to the turnkey building activities it would handle jointly with STRABAG.

According to Haselsteiner, the German operations pooled in DYWIDAG Holding would be managed directly by the German group company STRABAG AG in Cologne. For this reason they had reserved the contractual right to have DYWIDAG Holding acquired directly by STRABAG AG in Cologne. They were considering financing this acquisition by raising STRABAG AG's capital after consultation with the relevant organs. A vote on the amalgamation of DYWIDAG Holding with STRABAG AG would therefore feature on the agenda of the forthcoming annual general meeting in Cologne, which had been postponed from 15 June to 27 July.

Haselsteiner went on to say that DYWIDAG International GmbH, the Austrian Dyckerhoff & Widmann Ges.m.b.H. and the 4.9 per cent interest in Züblin would be taken over directly by Bauholding STRABAG SE itself. With regard to Züblin he said that the next few weeks would show whether STRABAG would also be able to purchase the 48.7 per cent block of Züblin shares which were currently in pledge with the Bayerische Landesban

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