The tri-listed company, African Copper, shot down Natasa proposal Thursday raising hopes that Zambia Copper Investments (ZCI) and others might have an upper hand over the hotly contested bid.
The bid is the second hotly contested on Botswana soil by international mining companies after the biggest show between Xstrata and Nolrisk over Lion Ore’s Tati Nickel mine some two years ago.
“Natasa’s offer has been shot-down by African Copper, now it is either they increase their offer or they are out,” a leading resource sector analyst in the country and chief executive officer of Capital Securities, Leutwetse Tumelo, said.
Following the Thursday dismissal by African Copper the door is now wider open for other contestants, such as ZCI.
“Natasa Mining Limited made an alternative offer to bondholders to acquire from them 2,239,034 of new ordinary shares to be issued to them for an aggregate consideration of about US $ 1 million in cash, which is equivalent to approximately 30 pence per share. Natasa had also proposed to arrange for Missina Copper (Botswana) to issue, in exchange for a subscription for bondholders, a new bond on the same terms as the existing bond issued to bondholders in an amount denominated in Pula terms. The offer was open to acceptance in whole or in part,” Pulafela Isaacs of Stockbrokers Botswana said.
However, College Hill public relations Company for ZCI declined to comment Friday in the wake of the news, adding that the statement issued was short on details.
To show the seriousness of the Mowana copper, (African Copper) last month ZCI said it had upped and transferred money to a trust account in the UK.
┬áZCI said in an e-mailed statement to Sunday Standard it had improved its bridge loan facility offered it from $2.5 million to $10 million that will please many shareholders and maybe cheer its share price.
┬á“As an indication of the seriousness of its intent,” ZCI said in a statement, “ZCI has transferred the full US $10 million amount of the bridge loan facility to its solicitors in London, McCarthy T├®trault, to be held in trust at National Westminster Bank plc, Fleet Street, London branch for the purposes of the implementation of ZCI’s proposal.”
ZCI said the improved offer will satisfy all repayment obligations to Natasa in full, removing the ability of Natasa to force the owners of Mowana mine in Botswana into liquidation.
┬áIt will also pay African Copper’s bondholders and key trade creditors 50% of the total amounts payable to them under the ZCI terms in advance of the full implementation of ZCI’s proposal while protecting African Copper’s shareholders’ investment in Botswana.
“The full $22.5million offer from ZCI will satisfy bondholders and creditors and give shareholders in ACU the chance of significant upside in future operations,” it added.
Tom Kamwendo, Chairman for the ZCI, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and Euronext (Paris) listed company, added that they have put transparent funds in place that creditors can and will be paid according to the transaction timetable.
“We have blown Natasha’s offer and reservations out of the water. This package is quite clearly in advance of anything that they have come up with for creditors, shareholders and Botswana itself,” he said.