Macmahon Holdings is investigating a ‘‘false’’ email chain after rumours of a takeover offer forced it into a trading halt.
The company has also instructed its lawyers to raise the matter with the stock exchange and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
The Perth-based mining services company said it was contacted by a media outlet this morning about an email chain purported to involve a Chinese joint venture proposing a ‘‘formal takeover offer for Macmahon at a substantial premium’’.
But after an internal inquiry, Macmahon established the email to be ‘‘false’’.
‘‘There was no truth to the matters referred to in the emails and ... the emails themselves were false,’’ it said in a statement to the stock exchange.
Macmahon requested a trading halt this morning after receiving the telephone call, ‘‘given the heightened risk of trading occurring on the back of false information’’.
‘‘Macmahon confirms to the market that no such discussions about a possible offer have taken place,’’ the company said in the statement.
Shares in Macmahon had risen 0.5 cent to 29 cents before the halt was called. They closed at that level after coming out of the trading halt later in the afternoon.
The disclosure echoes the hoax takeover bid targeting department store chain David Jones three months ago.
The retailer’s share price soared after it disclosed the approach, before plunging after it established it was a hoax, leading to criticism of the board’s handling of the incident.
After forecasting profit growth of 20 per cent in August, Macmahon warned in September that its 2012-13 net profit could fall by more than 50 per cent, leading to a massive plunge in the share price of nearly 50 per cent.
Chief executive Nick Bowen resigned after the downgrade and has been replaced by the company's chief operating officer for mining and former chief financial officer, Ross Carroll.