Wednesday, 22 May 2013

IMIC agrees in principle to buy Afferro for £126mln

International Mining & Infrastructure Corporation (LON:IMIC) has agreed in principle to acquire Cameroon-focused iron ore development group Afferro (LON:AFF) (CVE:AFF) for £126mln.

Investors are being offered 80 pence in cash – a 9.9 pence premium to the Afferro closing share price the day before the bid was agreed – along with a loan note worth the equivalent of 40 pence a share.

The loan note will be repaid in two years, and will carry a coupon of 8% per annum that will be rolled up and paid at the end of the 24-month term.

However, IMIC can also opt to convert the loan note into the equivalent value of IMIC shares at the end of the term.

The offer, which has the backing of Afferro management, who also speak for 6.3% of the AIM and TSX-listed junior, is at the upper end of the scale mooted when IMIC first made its bid approach. Afferro investors were told they could expect between 100 pence and 140 pence share.

Afferro chairman David Netherway said: “The board believes that, taking into consideration the current environment for the resource sector, the 120p per share proposal offers good value now and the ability for further upside with the exposure to the strong relationships built by IMIC with the key consumer that is China.”

Afferro has developed the 2.5bn tonne Nkout iron ore project in Cameroon, which while ranking as truly world-class is hampered by the fact it requires huge infrastructure investment to make it viable.

The sticking point is the railroad required to ship the ore hundreds of kilometres from the interior to the coast for export to markets such as China and India.

IMIC, with its close ties to African Iron Ore Group, run by Afren founder Bert Cooper, plans to become the continent’s preeminent provider of infrastructure to countries such as Cameroon and has relationships with the end users.

Afferro’s Netherway said: “We have developed a world class asset in the Nkout Project, which, along with our other iron ore projects, is in a substantial new iron ore corridor running through Cameroon.

“It has been of the foremost importance for the board of Afferro to come back to shareholders with a revised and simplified offer.”

IMIC chairman Haresh Kanabar added: “We are delighted to agree the terms of the proposed offer for Afferro with the board of Afferro.

“We believe that the combination of IMIC and Afferro is highly attractive in that it brings together Afferro’s high quality African iron ore assets with our deliverable infrastructure and offtake solution.”

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