Melbourne, Australia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 04 October 2010 – Singapore-based Sin-Tang Developments is planning a counterproposal to coal and base metals miner Xstrata’s US$416 million (R2.9 billion)) offer for Australian-listed Sphere Minerals “’ a West African-focused iron ore company with three projects in Mauritania.
Revealing this development here, The Australian Financial Review said it was not yet clear whether Sin-Tang, which last week emerged with an 8.6% stake in Sphere, was planning a full takeover or some other sort of deal.
Sphere declined to comment on what it called market speculation, and a spokesman said the company would continue to keep shareholders informed of any material changes in relation to Xstrata’s offer. The company added that it had appointed Goldman Sachs as its adviser on Xstrata’s to help see Xstrata’s bid to completion.
“Sphere’s board reaffirms that it recommends, in the absence of a superior proposal, that shareholders accept Xstrata’s share offer,” the spokesman said in a statement emailed to Reuters.
Xstrata’s offer for Sphere, a move to expand its iron ore holdings with Sphere’s magnetite iron ore deposits in Mauritania, is due to expire on October 19.
The newspaper said Sin-Tang’s adviser, Argonaut Securities, had met with representatives from one of Sphere’s largest shareholders, Qatar Steel, in the past few weeks to win support for its plan.
A source close to Sin-Tang said the company had not invested in Sphere as a short-term play, and had sufficient financial firepower to compete with Xstrata, the newspaper added.
Three Chinese businessmen control 95% of Sin-Tang.