Irish mining firm Ormonde doubts suitor

Ormonde Mining has expressed doubt about fresh claims from potential suitor, Almonty Industries, that funds are in place to cover a possible takeover of the Irish firm.

Meath-based Ormonde is set to put an agreed funding deal with US private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management to a shareholder vote next Tuesday. If passed, Oaktree would take a 70% stake in Ormonde and its flagship asset, the Barruecopardo tungsten project in western Spain, in return for providing €90.4m in project funding, which would enable the asset to be developed by the end of next year.

Last month, Ormonde rejected a second proposed offer from Almonty, valued at €27m, and urged its shareholders to vote for the Oaktree plan. Ormonde said it was not confident Almonty could meet its proposal to acquire the firm in cash. It has stressed that the Almonty proposal seriously undervalues Ormonde.

Reports this week quoted the Canadian firm as saying it has shown its Irish-based advisers, Goodbody Stockbrokers, term sheets showing that the funds are available. It has also reportedly had these term sheets forwarded to Davy, Ormonde’s advisers.

However, speaking yesterday, Ormonde’s corporate development manager, Paul Carroll said the company has had communication with Almonty, but has seen nothing of substance in reply and has seen no term sheets whatsoever.

Mr Carroll added that if there was a better option available than the Oaktree plan, then Ormonde’s board would recommend it; but noted that Oaktree’s deal represented certainty, while the Almonty proposal was a non-binding proposal.

He said Ormonde remained open to any credible offer, but stressed that the current market has made it very challenging to raise financing; noting that Ormonde has had numerous talks with debt providers and joint-venture prospects regarding Barruecopardo, in the past.

Reports that Almonty has suggested Ormonde’s board is only proposing a deal with Oaktree in order to protect its own position have also been slammed by Ormonde.

Managing director Kerr Anderson said yesterday that the deal was purely about funding and project progression and not about management.

“We’ve always done, and will continue to do, what’s in the best interests of our shareholders,” he said.


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