Copper producer jumps 30% on takeover offer

Investors in a relatively small Australian copper miner were rewarded on Friday when the stock added close to a third more value on a takeover offer.

Aditya Birla Minerals (ASX:ABY), headquartered in India, closed up 30.56% Friday on close to triple average volumes, after an $86 million takeout attempt by Australia's Metals X Limited (ASX:MLX). Metals X is offering one of its shares for every five Aditya shares at a price of 27.4 cents a share – a 60 percent premium on the 17 cents a share Aditya was trading at before the announcement. ABY on Friday closed at 23.5 cents, bringing the market cap up to $73.46 million.

The deal however is by no means done. Sydney Morning Herald reported on Monday that the bid was "subject to numerous conditions, including a 90 per cent minimum acceptance condition". The newspaper also quotes Metals X CEO Peter Cook as saying that the bid was designed to "crystallize" a response from the Aditya board and its majority shareholder, Hindalco Industries also of India, after it received no response to a number of friendly offers earlier this year.

Bombay-based Aditya Birla Group is among the largest producers of primary aluminum in Asia. It has two copper mines in Australia, the Mount Gordon mine in northwest Queensland, and the Birla Nifty mine located in the Great Sandy Desert region of the East Pilbara in Western Australia. Late last year Aditya announced it would unload its Mount Gordon mine, a promise it made good on in September, selling to Lighthouse Mineral Holdings Pty for around $10.8 million. Copper concentrate from the Birla Nifty mine is trucked to Port Hedland for shipping to Hindalco Copper’s Dahej smelting and refining facility in India.

Metals X is Australia's largest tin producer, operating the Renison mine in Tasmania. It also has nickel and gold operations, including the Higginsville and South Kalgoorlie operations in Western Australia.