London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 11 September 2008 – Aquarius Platinum – a focused platinum group metals producer in southern Africa – has denied that it has been working on a rival merger deal with the world’s third largest platinum producer Lonmin.
“Contrary to the recent speculation, we’re not looking to make an offer for Lonmin,” spokesman Nick Bias told Reuters. The Sunday Telegraph had reported that Lonmin – which has spurned a 33-pound per share takeover offer from Swiss-based Xstrata – was in talks on a three-way merger with Aquarius and Mvelaphanda Resources (Mvela).
Mvela told Reuters earlier this week that it had not been involved in any such talks regarding a merger with Lonmin. Lonmin has declined to comment on the rumours.
Last week, Lonmin again rejected Xstrata’s US$10 billion (R75 billion) takeover bid as too low, but said it wanted talks with its hostile suitor on potential synergies.
Lonmin admitted tha it was exploring options, but declined to say whether other parties had approached the company about a counter-bid. Chairman John Craven said the focus was on creating value for shareholders, not remaining independent.
Xstrata has to announce a firm intention to make its bid for Lonmin by October 2 or walk away for six months under a ‘put-up or shut-up’ ruling from the UK Takeover Panel.