Monday, August 30, 2010

Final hurdle cleared for Lihir takeover

MELBOURNE: Newcrest Mining Ltd’s A$10.45 billion (K25 billion) takeover of Lihir Gold Ltd has been officially completed after a Papua New Guinea court approved the deal, The National reports.

Newcrest welcomed the decision by the national court, which it said was the final step in the merger process after Lihir’s shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal earlier last week.

“The company is soon to become part of Newcrest Mining Ltd, with the combined assets creating a strong and vibrant new, major gold company,” Lihir managing director Graeme Hunt said last Friday.

News of the court approval came as Lihir reported a first-half profit of US$87.1 million, a turnaround from its loss in the corresponding period a year earlier.

Although Lihir did not declare an interim dividend, Newcrest said Lihir shareholders who participated in its offer would be eligible for that company’s final dividend of US$0.20.

It is expected the takeover scheme of arrangement will be implemented on Sept 13.

Lihir shares will be suspended from trading on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and the Port Moresby Stock Exchange (POMSoX) from today.

Under the scheme, Lihir shareholders will receive nearly 0.12 Newcrest shares plus US$0.225 for each Lihir share they own.

Based on Newcrest’s closing share price of US$35.28 last Friday, the offer has an implied price of US$4.41 per Lihir share, or US$10.45 billion.

In its half year results, Lihir reported its underlying profit for the six months to June 30 was US$142.5 million (K387.23 million), down 15.2% on the previous corresponding period.

However, it was up 17.3% on the six months to Dec 31, 2009. – AAP



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