Murray & Roberts recovers from drop on bridge disaster

Cape Town - Murray & Roberts [JSE:MUR] shares staged a recovery on Thursday after falling over 7% following the collapse of a makeshift bridge over the M1 highway at Grayston, a motorway that feeds Johannesburg's financial district.

Murray & Roberts, which is contracted to build a pedestrian bridge over the highway, said the collapsed structure was the temporary formwork built ahead of the construction of the pedestrian bridge.

Two people died and 15 were injured during the incident, which also caused traffic havoc on the M1.

On Thursday the City of Johannesburg advised travellers to use the Gautrain, saying it expects the road to be cleared for afternoon peak traffic.

Murray & Roberts said in an emailed response on Thursday that it is aware of various statements attributed to the company which speculate over the cause, or causes, of the incident.

"The company can confirm that it has made no such claims, that the cause, or causes, have not been identified and that all possible causes are the subject of formal investigation," said spokesperson Eduard Jardim.

He said the company's immediate priorities are to see to the families of those affected and to clear the scene so that motorists in Johannesburg are able to commute.

Senior directors of Murray & Roberts, including its group CEO Henry Lass, have been on site assisting with rescue and clearing operations since the incident occurred on Wednesday, according to Jardim.

"The company is working closely with the City of Joburg and all emergency services and early estimates indicate that the M1 will be cleared today."

The market showed a strong negative reaction to the incident on Wednesday, sending the stock down 7.3% to R11.15, the most since February 2011 and extending its decline for the year to 48%, according to Bloomberg.

On Thursday by 10:42 the share price had recovered by 4.48% to R11.65 after earlier reaching a high of R12.12.