Impala Platinum Holdings revived its pursuit of Royal Bafokeng Platinum, seeking control of the smaller South African miner in an escalating battle with Northam Platinum.
Implats, as the miner is known, offered R150 in cash and shares to RBPlat shareholders, valuing the company at about R43.4 billion ($2.7 billion). That comes after Northam Platinum earlier this month agreed to pay R180 a share for a 32.8% stake in RBPlat, thwarting Implats’ initial approach.
Implats has long wanted to own Royal Bafokeng’s low-cost mechanized assets, which are key to prolonging the life of its own deep-level operations in the adjacent Rustenburg mining complex. While Northam swooped to buy out RBPlat’s biggest shareholder, Implats Chief Executive Officer Nico Muller is still determined to gain majority control.
“Our ambition is to develop to a control position,” the CEO said on a call Monday, after Implats already built a 24.5% stake in RBPlat. “We see the shareholder support that we got already as a proxy of potential support that we can expect going forward.”
Implats said Abax Investments, Allan Gray, Coronation Asset Management, MandG Investment Managers and Ninety One SA have already sold their shares to the company. RBPlat surged 14% to R138.33 as of 1:28 p.m. in Johannesburg.
Implats said its offer — a 24% premium to RBPlat’s closing price on November 26 — provided “compelling value” for shareholders. The offer will open in mid-January for 30 days, and could be extended for another 15 days, said Kirthanya Pillay, the company’s group executive for corporate development.
Muller said Northam was unlikely to follow up with a general offer immediately, following its purchase of the stake owned by Royal Bafokeng Holdings — the investment arm of the Bafokeng nation that’s led by King Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi and his advisers.
“There is a clear indication R180 a share it offered to RBH is probably not repeatable,” said Muller, adding that he doesn’t expect Northam to sell its stake. The CEO said having Northam as a shareholder in RBPlat is an advantage because of the company’s “strong operational track record.”
Leon Van Schalkwyk, a spokesman for Northam, didn’t immediately respond to calls seeking comment. Northam’s audacious bid for the RBH shares reflected the growth ambitions of CEO Paul Dunne. Northam has an option to raise its stake in RBPlat to 36%, and earlier this month said that holding could provide a platform for a possible combination of the two miners in the medium term.
RBPlat said in a separate statement it has appointed PSG Capital as an independent expert to assess the Implats offer.
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