Hagemeyer open to takeover bids

Hagemeyer NV, Naarden, the Netherlands, has signaled that it's open to takeover proposals, according to a Feb. 23 Reuters report. Shares of the publicly held Hagemeyer have been rising lately, partially on talk of a possible bid by a consortium of private equity firms that bought rival Rexel, the report said.

“I would not sabotage such a proposal,” Hagemeyer's Chief Executive Officer Rudi de Becker said at a news conference. “The question is, what is best for the shareholders?” he said, adding that the business model for a merged company would need to be compared to plans for remaining independent.

Hagemeyer entered the North American electrical and industrial markets several years ago with acquisitions of Cameron & Barkley Co., Vallen Safety Supply Co. and Tristate Electrical and Electronics Supply Co. These companies now operate as Hagemeyer North America, Atlanta.

According to the Reuters article, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice attempted to buy Hagemeyer a while ago, but was unsuccessful in its bid.

Hagemeyer NV, which has been plagued by financial problems, said it expects to significantly narrow its net loss this year after almost halving the 2004 figure from 2003's $427 million. However, the company does not forecast a return to profit until 2006.

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