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RFC Corporate Finance and RBC Capital Markets emerge as counter bidder for Minmetals

A day is proving to be a long time in the life of OZ Minerals Ltd, the company now under a takeover bid from China's big Minmetals group.

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Last Thursday the once third biggest Australian mining house said that contrary to media speculation it had not received a counter bid, then on Friday is said it had been advised it should expect to receive refinancing proposals from one or more parties that day, but it didn't happen.

Today, a public holiday in Australia's Eastern States, the website TheWest.com.au - launched by West Australian Newspapers, disclosed that Western Australian-based RFC Corporate Finance and RBC Capital Markets said they would have a recapitalisation offer on the table before 3 pm this Thursday - when shareholders are to vote on accepting or not the Chinalco takeover offer.

Though there was no indication that the bid was reported last Friday, RFC and RBC said that was when it was placed.

On that day OZ Minerals said it had previously received unsolicited, non-binding and indicative proposals for a potential recapitalisation, but considered the Minmetals transaction was "a clearly superior proposal."

The company said it did not expect any future unsolicited proposal would be superior to the Minmetals transaction.

The West website said the RFC-RBC offer involves a recapitalisation involving OZ Minerals raising $US1 billion in fresh equity and convertible notes, and a further $US220 M under a working capital facility.

The refinancing proposal would allow OZ Minerals to retain all its current assets and repay bankers the $A1 billion ($US787 M) it owes them by June 30.

RFC's managing director Rob Adamson reportedly said today that the OZ Minerals board had said it would not recommend the new proposal that would see Minmetals gain most of OZ Minerals assets for about $US1.2 B ($A1.5 B).

Adamson also reportedly said today that he welcomed comments by Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ralph Norris to Business Spectator that the bank would continue to support OZ Minerals if the company shareholders reject the Minmetals offer in favour of a better proposal.

While this bid is virtually an eleventh hour exercise it must be making some Minmetals executives nervous, given the rejection last week of Chinalco's bid for Rio Tinto.

 

Mineweb is a web-based international mining publication focusing on mining financial and corporate news and comment.      

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ASX:OZL
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