Home > Mergers & Acquisitions > Sphere rejects Sin-Tang bid, prefers Xstrata

Sphere rejects Sin-Tang bid, prefers Xstrata

November 10, 2010

“Australian iron-ore developer Sphere Minerals Ltd has rejected a bid by closely held Sin-Tang Development Pte Ltd and recommended its shareholders accept Xstrata plc’s cash offer of A$514 million (US$520 million).

Sphere received a proposal from Sin-Tang to fund the Askaf project in Mauritania yesterday after the Australian markets closed and decided ‘to reaffirm its unanimous recommendation to accept Xstrata’s cash offer of A$3.00 per share,’ it said in a statement today. The offer isn’t superior to Xstrata’s, it said.

Sin-Tang’s ‘proposal provides no certainty as to the timing for completion of any transaction,” Sphere said. “The proposal does not address the development and funding requirements in respect of Sphere’s larger-scale Guelb el Aouj and Lebtheinia projects.'”

Source: Mining Journal / Bloomberg, November 5 2010

Observations:

  • Although Sin-Tang is based in Singapore, three Chinese businessmen control 95 percent of the company.
  • Not going with the Sin-Tang offer fits in the trend of Australian companies seeking non-Chinese sources of money. However, last week a Chinese sovereign wealth fund has agreed to buy Caledon Resources in a move that goes in the opposite direction.

Implications:

  • Xstrata is trying to build a stronger position in iron ore production in order to benefit from the expected high iron ore prices. The company held $1.4bln cash after Q2 of 2010. The all-cash offer for Sphere will leave the company with little or no excess cash for further acquisitions.

©2010 | Wilfred Visser | thebusinessofmining.com

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