Bloomberg News

Metorex Sees Hurdle for Any Rival to ‘Attractive’ Jinchuan Bid

July 22, 2011

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- Any bidder for Metorex Ltd. seeking to compete with an “attractive” $1.36 billion offer by China’s Jinchuan Group Co. faces hurdles as the African miner seeks to close a deal, Chief Executive Officer Terence Goodlace said.

“We’re moving very quickly,” Goodlace told Bloomberg in an interview today in Johannesburg, where the company is based.

Shareholders voted against a lower offer by Vale SA today, leaving Jinchuan as the only bidder for the producer of copper and cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. The Chinese nickel company is offering 8.90 rand a share, 21 percent more than the Brazilian iron-ore producer’s proposal.

“It’s an attractive offer,” Goodlace said after the vote. “If you look at the market and shareholder feedback, they’re a lot more positive than they were about Vale’s offer.” Any new bidder would have to “start from scratch,” he said.

Jinchuan is scheduled to release further details of its offer in early August, Johannesburg-based Metorex said today. The deal would strengthen the Chinese company’s Zambia and Congo business, according to a statement by Jinchuan on July 5.

A 42 percent jump in copper prices in the past year in London trading is spurring acquisitions in the industry. Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest producer of the precious metal, offered C$7.3 billion ($7.7 billion) for Equinox Minerals Ltd., partly to secure the Lumwana copper mine in Zambia.

Metorex’s production will probably be “similar” in the second half of the year to the first, when it produced 26,562 tons of copper and 1,890 tons of cobalt, Goodlace said.

The company declined 2 cents, or 0.2 percent, to 8.43 rand by 2:34 p.m. in Johannesburg trading and has advanced 19 percent since April 7, the day before Vale announced its offer.

--Editors: Tony Barrett, Alex Devine

To contact the reporter on this story: Carli Lourens in Johannesburg at clourens@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net


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