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Miller looks to pick itself up after Cala takeover setback

MILLER Group is planning a quick return to the acquisition trail after losing its battle for control of house builder Cala last week.

Dotterel, the management buyout consortium vying with Miller for Cala, last week announced that it had won acceptances from owners of 80.3 per cent of the shares in the firm and that its offer has now been deemed unconditional.

But Miller Group chief executive Keith Miller said: 'We are looking at other acquisitions, particularly in property and housing. We have got a balance sheet of £100 million and £250 million of funds available for acquisitions.' During the battle for control of Cala, Miller acquired a £70 million property portfolio.

But the Edinburgh-based firm is also seeking potential contracting acquisitions. 'We are looking at a few situations in facilities management and other niche markets, such as tunnelling,' said Mr Miller.

Miller's bid for Cala was thwarted after the Takeover Panel ruled that the group would not be allowed to raise its offer above 200p per share unless a higher bid materialised from a third party.

The Director General of Fair Trading is currently considering whether Dotterel's acquisition qualifies for investigation under the merger provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1973. If it qualifies, it may be referred to the Competition Commission for investigation and report.