Alsons buying out Indophil stakes at SMI

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/30 September) — Filipino business conglomerate Alsons Group is reportedly close to sealing a deal that would allow it to buy the minority block of shares being held by Indophil Resources NL at the Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI), holder of the Tampakan Copper and Gold Project.

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In a news item posted at, Indophil Resources NL chair Richard Laufmann said he is confident the ongoing buyout talks with Alsons will lead to the “completion” of the deal ahead of the November shareholders meeting of the Australia-based mining firm.

Indophil owns 34.23 per cent of SMI, whose copper and gold project site cuts across several villages in the provinces of South Cotabato, Davao del Sur and Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao.

Swiss mining giant Xstrata Plc, through its Australia-based subsidiary Xstrata Copper, is controlling partner of SMI having owned 62.5 per cent of Philippine-based mining company.

Alsons still holds 3.27 per cent of SMI which was subsumed in Indophil last year, bringing the latter’s total stake at SMI at 37.5 per cent.

Indophil earlier signed a memorandum of intent to progress talks for a possible sale of its stakes at SMI after Alsons offered to buy the former’s interests at the company for AUS$1.28 per share.

“Alsons is pleased at the prospect of becoming Xstrata’s local Philippine partner in the Tampakan project.  Alsons’ strong roots and major projects in Mindanao will be an asset to the Tampakan project moving forward,” Alsons Group chair Tomas Alcantara, a former Trade Undersecretary, said.

Alsons Group is a leading Filipino conglomerate with diversified interests in agriculture, real estate, banking, energy, manufacturing and mining.

The Filipino company holds minority shares at Indophil Resources after it agreed to a milestone-tied sale of its five-percent share at SMI following Xstrata’s formal takeover of the Tampakan project in April last year.

In June this year, a consortium of investors led by Stanhill Resources of Hongkong offered to buy Indophil for AUS$1.28 per share on the condition that Indophil deliver at least 90 per cent of its shares in the mining firm.

But Lions Selection sold 17.76 per cent of its 25 per cent stakes at Indophil to Xstrata, which automatically voided the bid offer of Stanhill.

Alsons Corp. is one of the companies that joined Stanhill in the consortium which failed to buy out Indophil.

On September 11, Alsons Corp. was reported to have submitted another bid for the same price per share, this time for only the shares held by Indophil at SMI.

Indophil has several other mineral exploration projects outside of the Tampakan Copper and Gold Project.

The mining firm has been locked in a long-drawn corporate war with its SMI majority partner Xstrata.

Laufmann earlier accused Xstrata of being “unrealistically opportunistic” after it offered to buy the shares of Lions Selection at AUS$1 per share, saying Xstata’s offer did not reflect the true value of Indophil.

When Stanhill offered to buy at AUS$1.28 per share, Xstrata said it will not match the offer only to submit the same price bid 48 hours later.

The price of Indophil’s shares zoomed to AUS$1.32 immediately after Stanhill submitted its bidder’s statement.

With the Stanhill offer carrying the 90-percent delivery colatilla, Xstrata succeeded in buying out majority of Lions Selection’s stake at Indophil effectively voiding the former’s bid offer.

As soon as Xstrata completed its deal with Lions, Indophil shares plummeted to less than 0.80 Aus cents.

At Monday’s stock trading at the Australian Stock Exchange, Indophil’s share rose slightly at 0.90 per share but it slid to 0.865 per share today.

Indophil is a publicly listed company in Australia.

With ore deposits of over 12.8 million tons of 0.6 per cent copper and 15.2 million ounces of 0.2 grams per ton of gold, the Tampakan Copper and Gold Project is reportedly the biggest of its kind in Asia. (Edwin G. Espejo/MindaNews contributor)

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