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China's Minmetals signs formal deal with OZ
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16:25, April 16, 2009

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Australian miner OZ Minerals said in a statement on April 14 that it had reached a formal agreement with China Minmetals Non-ferrous Metals Co. and is now waiting for the approval of its board members and Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board.

After Minmetals' initial buyout proposal was turned down by the Australian government, the company revised its offer and immediately proposed a new investment plan to OZ Minerals. In the new offer, the Chinese No.1 metal trading firm will pay A$1.75 billion (US$1.2 billion) to take over part of OZ Minerals assets but will no longer buy out OZ's debt.

OZ Minerals said in the statement that the transaction involves the sale of "Sepon, Golden Grove, Century, Rosebery, Avebury, Dugald River, High Lake, Izok Lake and certain other exploration and development assets". The security-sensitive Prominent Hill site, the major factor behind the Australian government's rejection of Minmetals' previous offer, was excluded from the new proposal.

OZ Minerals said the deal is pending for the approval of its shareholders, who will gather on June 12 at the Annual General Meeting to discuss the issue. The deal will also need the go-ahead from Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board and relevant Chinese governmental authorities including the National Development and Reform Committee and the Ministry of Commerce, the statement said. These regulatory approvals will be made "around mid-May (and no later than two weeks prior to the Annual General Meeting)".

If the deal is approved, OZ said it will retain a cash balance of about A$500 million once its debts are cleared.

China.org.cn reporter has been trying to contact Minmetals, however the company's contact person hasn't picked up any of the calls.

Source: China.org.cn

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