Brick producer Michelmersh has reaffirmed its interest in acquiring Black Country rival Baggeridge Brick.
The company, the largest producer of handmade bricks in the UK, said yesterday it was continuing to seek financial support to fund a possible offer for the entire issued ordinary share capital of the Sedgley-based firm.
Michelmersh announced last month that it had entered into a £16.5 million loan agreement with WE Black to finance a possible counter-bid.
While not alluding to this yesterday, Michelmersh's board said it anticipated the financing would be concluded shortly.
The company has been steadily increasing its interest in Baggeridge during the past month and currently has a 23.12 per cent stake.
Any bid by Michelmersh is expected to comprise a share-for-share offer with a full cash alternative, which will be at a price of not less than 225p per ordinary share.
However, while reaffirming its interest, the company stopped short of committing itself at this stage to a full bid.
In a statement it said: "This is not an announcement of a firm intention to make an offer and accordingly no certainty can be assumed that an offer will be forthcoming.
"However, if an offer is made it will be on terms no less favourable than as set out in this announcement."
The announcement was prompted after the board of Baggeridge wrote a letter to shareholders over the weekend reminding them that the recommended 220p per share cash offer from brick producer Wienerberger closes at 1pm tomorrow and that the Austrian company is not obliged to extend the offer.
The letter added the board had yet to receive a firm offer for the company from Michelmersh. Wienerberger's offer is conditional on receiving a take-up of over 50 per cent.
As of May 16, the firm said it had secured irrevocable backing from 32.1 per cent of Baggeridge's shareholders, which include members of Baggeridge's board, as well as trustees of the Ward family trust. If the Wienerberger offer is accepted then the deal would create the UK's third largest brick company.
Baggeridge, currently the UK's fourth largest brick producer, employs 575 people at its five sites in the UK - four in the West Midlands and one in West Sussex.