The annual Investing in African Mining Indaba is in the midst of a radical turnaround strategy which over the last two years has already seen significant changes.

These changes have driven the return of more mining companies and investors to the event.

While owner Euromoney has agreed to sell the business, the focus and drive for the Indaba remains the same.

Laura Cornish sat down with Mining Indaba’s MD Alex Grose to find out more about what will change post the acquisition, and what will stay the same.

On the back of Mining Indaba’s growing success following the implementation of a turnaround strategy, it came as a surprise that international business information and events group Euromoney had agreed to sell the conference to exhibition organiser ITE Group for £30.1 million (about R562 million).

Mining Indaba’s MD Alex Grose

The Mining Indaba’s event, “Investing in African Mining Indaba”, remains the world's largest mining investment conference, dedicated to the capitalisation and development of mining in Africa and is held annually in Cape Town, South Africa.

It will also enter a new era of business as it celebrates its 25th year anniversary in 2019.

This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 11 2018

The sale of Mining Indaba is in line with Euromoney's strategy, which includes actively managing its portfolio of assets and selling businesses which do not fully align with its strategy, providing Euromoney with further capital to recycle towards its main investment themes.

“From a Euromoney perspective, Mining Indaba has been a strong and solid performing investment asset but does not fit with the company’s long-term strategy which is to move away from mining,” says Grose.

“So we have agreed to sell the asset to ITE because they will provide a good home for it, confirms Euromoney CEO Andrew Rashbass.

“The conference performed well this year and this disposal is another example of Euromoney's strategy in action: where a good business does not align with our strategy, we will sell it and recycle capital towards our main investment themes including price discovery, asset management and telecommunications.”

“ITE CEO Mark Shashoua is focused on and believes in investing in and making acquisitions into large-scale, must attend events where the company can add further value and investment to grow these events further,” Grose continues.

ITE is an events-driven business entirely and saw value in Mining Indaba, and perhaps there are already potential synergies with some of its other major African focused events such as Africa Oil Week.

What to expect from the event under new leadership?

The investment community has grown in numbers at Mining Indaba over the last two years

“Although Euromoney is selling Mining Indaba, our approach from day one four years ago was to inject all of our time and effort into building the business and taking it forward as a long-term investment,” Grose outlines.

Grose and his team have always taken the view of centring the conference around “what is good for the mining industry?” and from that stance then look at how to facilitate this.

And the company has had great success in bringing back the investment community and the juniors mining industry as it has returned to providing a platform and being a convenor of providing access to capital for African mining companies.

“This strategy will continue moving forward. ITE likes what we’ve done and want us to continue building momentum around this. Subsequently, the plan is for the entire Mining Indaba team to move over, including myself in my position as MD. I am excited about this change and the continued drive ITE will push in working towards achieving our objectives.”

“Ultimately, moving forward, our core activities and focus remains the same. Our mining community can take comfort and rest assured that the Mining Indaba conference will take place at the same venue, over the dates we’ve already committed to. If anything, our service delivery and delegate experience should actually improve further.”

For the year ended 30 September 2017, the mining investment conference reported an adjusted operating profit of £2.5 million.

The consideration is fixed and will be received in cash in two tranches, £20.0 million at completion and the balance by 1 June 2019.

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