[miningmx.com] – TERENCE Goodlace, CEO of world number two platinum producer, Impala Platinum (Implats), said compliance with Zimbabwe’s indigenisation policy had restored certainty to the company’s operations in Zimbabwe.
Implats’ Zimbabwe unit, Zimplats, last year signed an “in principle agreement” to transfer 51% shares to black Zimbabweans. It, however, submitted a revised compliance plan to the government late last year, giving provision for the payment of its proposals.
“We (have completed) what possibly ranks as the largest ever empowerment transaction in Zimbabwe,” said Goodlace. For Implats, this is the second such empowerment transaction following the compliance agreement for the indigenisation of Mimosa, which it jointly owns with Aquarius Platinum, in 2012.
On Friday, Implats and Zimbabwean Empowerment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, signed a term sheet agreement which will see the company vendor-finance the acquisition of the 51% shareholding by the black Zimbabwean groups.
Goodlace said the value of the indigenisation transaction signed with the Zimbabwe government is $971m. Implats said in a news release on Friday afternoon that the “vendor-financing” provided by Zimplats towards the acquisition of shares “will be repayable from 85% of the dividends declared by Zimplats on the indigenisation shares”.
Implats has agreed to cede 10% shareholding in Zimplats to a community share ownership scheme for the community around which Zimplats has operations, 10% to about 4,000 of the company’s employees under an employee share ownership scheme and 31% to the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB).
Goodlace said Implats was “committed to continuing with the Ngezi Phase 2 expansion project” which is expected to boost platinum production from the Zimbabwe operations.
“Should future funding be raised by equity subscriptions, then all parties are required to contribute their respective pro-rata share, failing which dilution is provided for,” Implats said in its statement.
Kasukuwere said compliance by all the major mining companies in Zimbabwe “displayed the remarkable investor confidence” in Zimbabwe as some companies have committed to expanding their Zimbabwe operations after compliance with the empowerment policy.
However, the agreement reached by the two parties is “subject” to Implats and Zimplats and the new indigenous shareholders “concluding definitive” transaction agreements and the amendment of the May 24, 2006 “Release of Ground” agreement.
The release of ground agreement provides for the payment to Implats of $153m and relates to some 51 million oz Implats sold to Zimbabwe.