Takeover talks good news for Northam and Mvela

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

Northam Platinum's share jumped 12percent to an intraday high of R28,76 and Mvela Resources' 11percent to R28,75 after Impala Platinum said talks to buy the two companies had restarted.

Yesterday's renewed cautionary announcement, issued via the stock exchange news service, did not give details of a new offer.

In September, shortly before both platinum prices and world stock markets crashed, Impala offered to buy Northam and Mvela for 70percent cash and 30percent shares. The original proposal was an exchange of 35 Impala shares for 100 Northam shares.

But Impala withdrew this offer in October when the JSE's platinum index more than halved.

Impala's share price has since recovered to around R150 from its October low of R86,55, while Northam's is at around R20.

Mvela Resources spokesperson James Wellsted said a new offer now being negotiated may see Impala offering more shares and less cash because Impala recently announced it is in cash preservation mode.

An Impala spokesperson said: "We do not want to operate under a cautionary forever, so we will provide shareholders with more details as soon as we can."

When the deal was originally announced in September, it was valued at around R21billion. Analysts said the stock exchange crash has probably knocked Northam's and Mvela Resources' price to around R13billion.

Shortly before Impala withdrew its initial offer in October, Mvela Resources announced it had overcome one of the hurdles facing the deal.

Last August, Anglo Platinum gained BEE credits by selling its 22percent share of Northam along with its half of joint-venture Booysendal to Mvela Resources. This saw Mvela Resources up its stake in Northam from under 22percent to 63percent.

Implats' offer to buy these assets was predicated on Anglo Platinum keeping its BEE credits. The Department of Minerals and Energy gave the green light for this in October.

Besides 63percent of Northam, Mvela Resources owns 20percent of diamond miner Trans Hex and seven percent of Gold Fields.