Australia’s Perilya likely to be swallowed by Chinese firm, its major shareholder

Perth-based miner Perilya (ASX:PEM), which owns the famous Broken Hill lead-zinc-silver mine that gave birth to BHP Billiton, is likely to be absorbed by Shenzhen Zhongjin Lingnan Nonfemet Co (SZLN) —its major shareholder— in a deal worth around US$180 million.

According to The Australian, the State-owned Asian firm, which is now one of China's largest zinc-lead producers after acquiring 50.1% of the Aussie company in 2009, is fine tuning details for a takeover bid.

The article quotes sources close to the companies as saying it is almost impossible that any group other than Zhongjin Lingnan bids for Perilya, not only because the Chinese group is already the Aussie miner's main stakeholder, but especially given the “traditional reluctance of Chinese companies to compete for control of the same asset.”

Perilya, which posted its half-year financial results on Friday, went into a trading halt because of a "potential control transaction.”

In October last year the Land and Environment Court found that Perilya's three mines in Broken Hill, located west of outback New South Wales, were worth $5.9 million rather than the $21 million they had been valued at by the Valuer-General.

Earlier this month, Australia’s Supreme Court ruled that both the Valuer-General and the mining company made errors in working out the value of Perilya’s mines in Broken Hill.

The company reported today a net loss before tax of A$29.2 million, down from a net profit before tax of A$8.3 million in the same period last year. Revenue from operations for the period dropped to A $139.1 million, down 14% from the $161.3 million logged in the first half of 2012.

BHP’s name stands for "Broken Hill Proprietary."

Image of Broken Hill by Amanda Slater