22/06/2015 - 10:24

Programmed, Skilled set to strike a deal

22/06/2015 - 10:24

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Perth-based Programmed Maintenance Services is set to strike a long-awaited takeover deal with labour hire company Skilled Group, with both companies entering into trading halts this morning ahead of a formal announcement.

Programmed, Skilled set to strike a deal
Programmed managing director Chris Sutherland.

Perth-based Programmed Maintenance Services is set to strike a long-awaited takeover deal with labour hire company Skilled Group, with both companies entering into trading halts this morning ahead of a formal announcement.

Shares in both companies were halted from trade this morning, ahead of what Programmed said was an announcement of a "possible acquisition".

In Skilled's trading halt statement, the deal was labelled as a "potential transaction".

The two companies have been in talks since May, when Programmed indicated it was open to improving the terms of a merger of equals deal it put to Skilled in December.

Skilled rejected the initial offer, saying a proposal to create a $700 million staffing and facilities management group was not compelling given its own position as the largest blue collar labour hire firm.

Potential savings of $20 million was not a strong enough reason to merge two companies, Skilled chief executive Angus McKay said at the time.

Programmed provides staffing services, as well as maintenance and facility management.

Its managing director Christopher Sutherland said in May that a merger would create a more efficient and flexible combined entity that is able to take on larger projects.

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