RBPlat calls on Government’s PIC to end takeover battle between industry rivals

RBPlats' Styldrift mine

A YEAR-long takeover battle for Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat) between industry rivals Impala Platinum (Implats) and Northam Platinum Holdings was harming the company, said Bloomberg News

“We are starting to see the impact of the ongoing uncertainty caused by the current corporate action,” Lindiwe Montshiwagae, a spokeswoman at RBPlat, told the newswire. “We have seen the impact in operational performance.”

Montshiwagae said that the firm’s 9.9% shareholder, the government-owned Public Investment Corporation (PIC) could help resolve the situation. “The PIC can break the deadlock for control in the interests of RBPlat and its stakeholders and therefore restore operational normality,” said Montshiwagae.

Implats owns just over 41% stake in RBPlat in terms of a cash and shares offer for the company worth R150 per RBPlat share which it launched in December last year. Last month, Northam finally broke cover on its intentions, announcing a R180 per RBPlat share in cash and shares for RBPlat.

As the largest single minority shareholder, the PIC is in a kingmaker position, but it has decided not to sell its stake. The interpretation is that the PIC has simulaneously acknowledged Northam’s value offer but is equally swayed by the job retention advantages offered by Implats which has assets adjacent to those of RBPlat.

In the meantime, RBPlat’s assets show signs of deteriorating, said Bloomberg News, citing Nicholas Hops, a portfolio manager at Coronation Fund Managers. “Both Impala and Northam are fighting for control of an asset which is not living up to original expectations and seemingly, from the outside, has deteriorated further,” Hops said.

“It brings instability and consternation among workers,” Steve Phiri, CEO of RBPlat told Miningmx as far back as August. “Senior management keeps saying ‘how far are you, when is this concluding?’. Human beings want certainty in order to move forward in their lives. It’s a concern for us,” he said.