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China’s Minmetals makes $1.7bn bid for Oz Minerals

Minmetals, the Chinese state-owned metals trader, has agreed to buy the world’s second-largest zinc miner, Australia's Oz Minerals (OZL.AX) for $1.7bn.

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Minmetals, the Chinese state-owned metals trader, has agreed to buy the world’s second-largest zinc miner, Australia's Oz Minerals (OZL.AX) for $1.7bn.

Minmetals and Oz Minerals said the A$2.6bn deal, at 82.5 cents per share, 50 percent higher than Oz Minerals' last traded price, will enable payment of all the firm's outstanding debts. The takeover will also maintain the company’s mines, which had been threatened with sale or liquidation. Minmetals is the second Chinese firm to come to the aid of an indebted Australian mining company in under one week.

The board of Oz Minerals backed the deal unanimously. "This was the only offer we've received for the whole of the company," Managing Director Andrew Michelmore told journalists.

"Minmetals intends to continue to operate Oz Minerals' portfolio of assets, and its acquisition will provide the opportunity to support the development of Oz Minerals' projects," said Minmetals Chairman Zhou Zhongshu in a statement.

Last year saw speculation that Minmetals, whose imports into China include iron ore, copper and zinc, was considering making an offer for Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) (RIO.L), during attempts by BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) to purchase the company. BHP eventually abandoned its $66bn bid for the mining giant. 

Chinalco (Aluminium Corp of China) agreed last week to invest $19.5bn into Rio Tinto, which is approaching a first instalment on its debt of $39bn.

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