Impala takes control of RBPlat after acquiring key investor’s stake

Platinum Mining Target Says Takeover Battle Damages Operations
Credit: Royal Bafokeng Platinum Ltd.

Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd has gained control of smaller rival Royal Bafokeng Platinum after buying a 9.26% stake from Africa’s largest fund manager, ending a drawn-out takeover battle.

The Johannesburg-based platinum group metals producer raised its stake in RBPlat to 55.46% after South Africa’s Public Investment Corp. sold its remaining interest, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

The transaction ends a protracted struggle for control between Impala and rival Northam Platinum, which holds about 35% of RBPlat and nearly foiled Impala’s Nov. 2021 bid.

Impala has also extended the closing date for its offer of 150 rand in cash and shares to remaining RBPlat shareholders to June 28.

“The PIC is a strategic shareholder and key stakeholder in the South African PGM industry, and its decision to sell to us strongly affirms the rationale of the Impala transaction, which is key to the long-term economic stability of the Rustenburg region,” Impala CEO Nico Muller said.

Analysts at Noah Capital Markets said Northam could hold onto its RBPlat stake, as selling into the Impala offer would be at a loss given the difference between its purchase price of RBP shares at an equivalent of 187 per share and Impala’s offer price of 150 rand per share.

“We think Northam will hold on to its shares. The resolution of this 18-month battle is welcomed and the cessation of hostilities is a win-win for both companies,” Noah Capital Markets said in a note.

Impala had long wanted control of RBPlat, which has mechanised and shallower mines adjacent to its own ageing, costly and deep-level shafts at the Rustenburg mining complex in South Africa’s North West province.

South African investors have become reluctant to invest in building new mines because of an uncertain future for the metals, as growth in electric vehicle batteries gains pace. Platinum metals are used in autocatalysts that help to lower harmful vehicle emissions.

Impala’s control of RBPlat assets would help secure more than 42,000 jobs at the Rustenburg mines, Muller said.

($1 = 18.3161 rand)

(By Felix Njini; Editing by Jason Neely, David Evans and Sharon Singleton)


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