South Africa views BHP bid for Anglo as ‘normal market activity’

Workers at Grosvenor mine (Credit: Anglo American)

South Africa views BHP Group’s proposed bid for Anglo American as “normal market activity” and is following the process as it unfolds, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson said on Monday.

BHP is considering making an improved offer for Anglo American after its $39 billion initial proposal was rejected by the London-listed miner, a source told Reuters last week.

“It is still early days in terms of the proposal that BHP has submitted to Anglo,” spokesperson Vincent Magwenya told a media briefing.

“We will follow like everybody else the process as it unfolds. We don’t as a country go out of our way to block market activity,” Magwenya added.

BHP has until May 22 to make a binding bid. A deal, if successful, would create the world’s biggest miner of copper, a metal central to the clean energy shift.

A condition of the miner’s proposal is that Anglo first distributes to shareholders its stakes in Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and Kumba Iron Ore, both of which operate in South Africa.

Any exit by Anglo – founded in South Africa in 1917 – would be an economic blow to the country, whose miners have been cutting jobs and investment in response to weakening metals prices and a slew of local challenges exacerbated by the state port and freight rail company.

BHP’s bid comes weeks before a general election in which voter anger about a stagnant economy and high unemployment could cost the long-governing African National Congress its majority.

(By Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Alexander Winning and Mark Potter)

Related: South Africa scrutinizes BHP bid for Anglo weeks before election


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