Chinese construction firm CCCI to buy Canada's Aecon for $1.5B

Aecon Group Inc. has signed a deal to be acquired for $1.5 billion by CCCC International Holding Ltd. of China, subject to shareholder and government approvals.

Deal represents at 42% premium to what Aecon was trading at before the news

Aecon put itself up for sale this past summer. (Arnulfo Franco/Associated Press)

Aecon Group Inc. has signed a deal to be acquired for $1.5 billion by CCCC International Holding Ltd. of China, subject to shareholder and government approvals.

CCCC International has agreed to pay $20.37 per Aecon share in cash to buy the Canadian construction company, which said in August that it was looking for potential buyers.

"We believe this is a very positive outcome for Aecon and our key stakeholders," Aecon chairman Brian Tobin said in a statement Thursday.

"This transaction is the result of an active and diligent sale process that has enabled us to select an outstanding partner and create significant shareholder value."

Deal needs regulatory approval

Aecon shares closed at $16.52 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

CCCC International, also known as CCCI, is the overseas investment and financing arm of China Communications Construction Company Ltd., one of the world's largest engineering and construction groups.

Aecon will continue to be headquartered in Canada while CCCI's size and financial strength will help it bid for larger and more complex projects, the companies said.

"Aecon has a strong management team and a very impressive track record that have made it a leading construction company in Canada and a pioneer in public private partnerships and concession operations," CCCI president Lu Jianzhong said.

It will now gain access to significant capital, complementary infrastructure expertise and an international network to support its growth ambitions."

The offer requires the approval of two-thirds of the votes cast at a special meeting of Aecon shareholders as well as government and regulatory approvals under the Investment Canada Act, the Canadian Competition Act and authorities in China.

The announcement of the deal came as Aecon reported a third-quarter profit of $24.6 million or 37 cents per diluted share, down from a profit of $27.4 million or 42 cents per diluted share a year ago.

Revenue fell to $759.7 million compared with $838.1 million in the same quarter last year.