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Implats acquires 24% of Royal Bafokeng, offers to buy out remaining shares

Rustenburg operations. (Image courtesy of Implats.)

Impala Platinum (JSE: IMP), also known as Implats, said on Monday it would make an offer to buy out smaller rival Royal Bafokeng Platinum (JSE: RBP) in which it acquired a 24.5% stake for 10.6 billion South African rand ($650.3 million) last week.

The platinum group metals producer said it will offer ZAR150 ($9.3) per Royal Bafokeng’s (RBPlat) share, consisting of a cash amount of ZAR90 ($5.6) per offer share and 0.3 ordinary shares in Implats, valued at ZAR60 ($3.7).

The cash-and-stock offer represents a 24% premium to its closing price Friday, the South African miner said.

The move comes as a surprise as the company was outbid in early November by Northam Platinum, which acquired 32.8% of RBPlat shares from its parent company, Royal Bafokeng Holdings.

“Implats’ offer and the recent acquisition of RBPlat shares by Northam are testament to the value inherent in this business and to the hard work that our teams have put in,” RBPlat CEO Steve Phiri said in a separate statement.

The company has now constituted an independent board to review and consider the offer made to all shareholders.

Analysts say that Northam is unlikely to take up Implats’ offer as it closed its own acquisition just last week. They also believe there are greater synergies to be realized between RBPlat and Implats than with Northam.

Should Royal Bafokeng shareholders accept Impala’s offer, the blended miner will produce about 3.45 million ounces of PGMs a year, overtaking both Sibanye Stillwater (NYSE: SBSW)(JSE: SSW) and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) in terms of output, and rivaling Russian giant MMC Norilsk Nickel (MCX: GMKN).

Acquiring the further 25.58% stake in RBPlat at the offered price would mean for Implats to invest a further ZAR11.1 billion (about $688m) and a total deal of around ZAR21.7 billion ($1.4bn).

Decade-long attempt

Since being thwarted in its 2010 attempt to acquire RBPlat by rival Anglo American Platinum — a key shareholder at the time — Implats has been steadily advancing towards its goal of becoming the world’s no.1 platinum miner. 

Flush with cash on the back of higher rhodium and palladium prices, it has acquired low-cost, mechanized assets that offered synergies with its nearby but aging deep-level mines in Rustenburg. The company has also expanded abroad, acquiring Canada’s North American Palladium two years ago.

Royal Bafokeng is the mining investment arm of the Royal Bafokeng nation, a community of people based near South Africa’s Sun City.

(With files from Bloomberg and Reuters)