New $465-M bid for miner Indophil trumps Xstrata


Posted at Jun 20 2008 11:36 AM | Updated as of Jun 20 2008 07:36 PM


SYDNEY - Australian-listed miner Indophil Resources NL said on Friday it had received a A$488 million ($465 million) bid that trumped a hostile offer from Xstrata Plc, and recommended shareholders take it.

The new offer, from a consortium of investment groups Crosby Capital Ltd and the Alsons Group as well as Indophil's chief executive, Richard Laufmann, pushed Indophil's stock up as much as 20 percent to A$1.39, its highest price ever.

Indophil, which co-owns a copper deposit in the Philippines with Xstrata, recommended its shareholders accept the offer unless a higher one comes along.

The consortium is offering A$1.28 cash per Indophil share. The offer is 28 percent, or $119 million higher than a A$1 a share offer made by Xstrata in May.

A spokeswoman for Xstrata declined immediate comment.

Xstrata has been one of the most acquisitive international mining houses buying copper, zinc and coal mines in Australia and nickel deposits in Canada and Africa as it builds up a diversified commodities powerhouse.         

Xstrata already owns the majority of the rights to the Tampakan copper lode in the southern Philippines' Mindanao island, regarded as one of the richest in Southeast Asia.

Xstrata paid Indophil $41 million for a majority stake in the Tampakan deposit a year ago. Xstrata now has a 62.5 percent in the mine and management control, while Indophil has a 34.2 percent stake with a right to acquire a further 3.3 percent.  

The deposit is estimated to contain 11.6 million tonnes of copper and 14.6 million ounces of gold, which geologists believe can be extracted at a fraction of today's copper and gold selling prices.