West Midland car components group Wagon is close to sealing its £128.4 million all-share reverse takeover of privately-held French rival Oxford Automotive.
Trade in Wagon's shares, which were suspended on February 20 after the company announced it was in merger talks, will resume in London today.
Warwick-based Wagon said yesterday that it had secured irrevocable acceptances from Oxford shareholders speaking for about 75 per cent of the issued share capital.
On completion, Oxford shareholders will hold 53.1 per cent of the enlarged group. Based on Wagon's February 17 closing share price of 206 1/2 p and following the issue of 62.1 million new ordinary shares, the new group is expected to be valued at £238 million.
Trading in the shares was suspending pending the publication of a prospectus, and this was sent out yesterday.
Wagon shareholders are being asked to vote on the deal at an emergency general meeting on April 6.
Completion will give Wagon a boost in European automotive markets via exposure to Oxford's customers, who include
Peugeot, Renault and DaimlerChrysler.
Because of its greater size - Oxford posted revenues of £362.5 million in its last full year compared with Wagon's £204.2 million - the deal is classed as a reverse takeover.
Wagon chief executive Pierre Vareille said the acquisition of Oxford was a "compelling opportunity" for the group, which has sites at Brownhills, Coventry and Wantage in the UK and operations France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Czech Republic, the US and China.
"Whilst we continue to make good operational and strategic progress as a stand-alone business, it is clear that industry trends require automotive sup-pliers to seek greater scale, a broader product offering and greater financial resources to fund their growth.
"A combination of Wagon and Oxford addresses all these needs and creates one of the leading Tier 1 suppliers to European-based automotive OEMs. The result will be a strong platform from which to take advantage of the increasing trend by OEMs towards outsourcing engineered structures."