Sirius Minerals (LON:SXX) shareholder vote, with days to go, to save the mine project

Anglo American repeats claims its offer is ‘fair and reasonable’ while shareholders take matters into their own hands.

By Kelley Price

The fight to save Sirius Minerals is on, as Anglo American stands by its cash offer to buy the mine – and shareholders attempt to raise the funds themselves.

A group of individuals has taken matters into their own hands, claiming Anglo American’s offer represents a “significant undervalue” and “at no point did Sirius reach out to private investors”.

With a mountain to climb before a March 3 shareholder’s vote, the six investors say “time is ticking” but they are “making great strides” towards a £460m target.

But Odey Asset Management, a major investor in the project, said on Wednesday it believed the global mining firm would up its offer if a last-minute “interloper” made a counter-bid.

According to reports by the Financial Times on Thursday, Anglo American has repeated claims its 5.5p per share offer “reflects the project’s future investment needs” and is “fair and reasonable”.

So far the Sirius Minerals’ Investor Action Group (SMIAG) has seen £13.2m pledged by 1,100 people.

It has based its target on the figure Sirius Minerals said was needed to fund the project through the next two years of development.

SMIAG says private investors have been “cast aside” in their fight to keep the project “in their hands”, despite the board saying Anglo American’s offer was the “only viable pathway”.

Group member Mark Jones, a retail investor of 37 years from Middlesbrough, has admitted their task is a “difficult” one.

“We have had plenty of hits on, some serious pledges exceeding £1m,” he told Teesside Live.

“The company need to stay in shareholders’ hands, everybody wants that.

“We had hoped the company would help us.

‘People are backing us’

“But they have hung their hat on Anglo American’s offer.

“We want to get to the £460m, which in the short time we have is difficult.

“We are reliant on private investors but we also need the institutional investors.

“People are backing us. But we need more exposure.”

The action group has said Sirius Minerals had not reached out to private investors for funding support, despite them owning 50% of the shares in the company.

“Many of those private investors invested pensions and life savings,” the group said in a statement.

“It is these people who have significantly part-funded the mine to the position it is in today and who are now being discarded by Anglo American, who does not wish to retain them.”

The action group’s founder, Yashmin Ismail, said she was told by Sirius Minerals CEO Chris Fraser there was “no appetite” from private investors.

One shareholder from Middlesbrough said their entire family including their two daughters had invested a “considerable sum” into shares for the project, including money gifted by her mother.

“There are some big institutional investors, granted – but most of us are normal people with everyday jobs,” she said.

“It’s very upsetting.

“Time is ticking, we want to see if it’s possible to raise this money locally, nationally, internationally

“There was a consortium that came forward before Christmas – we don’t really know what happened with that

“The company would not be where it is now without us.”

A spokesperson for Sirius Minerals said: “We recognise that the current offer does not represent the value that the Board and shareholders had previously hoped for.

“However, given the situation, the Company finds itself in, we face a stark choice.

“As such, the board has been unanimous in recommending that shareholders vote in favour of the deal.

“In the event of this transaction being unsuccessful, there is a high probability that the business will need to be placed into administration or liquidation.”

By Kelley Price


Linking Shareholders and Executives :Share Talk

If anyone reads this article found it useful, helpful? Then please subscribe or follow SHARE TALK on our Twitter page for future updates. Terms of Website Use All information is provided on an as-is basis. Where we allow Bloggers to publish articles on our platform please note these are not our opinions or views and we have no affiliation with the companies mentioned

Weekly Newsletter

Sign up to receive exclusive stock market content in your inbox, once a week.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.