South Africa com­pany to buy Still­wa­ter Min­ing for $2.2bn

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

BILLINGS, Mon­tana: The com­pany that owns Mon­tana’s largest min­ing com­plex an­nounced Fri­day that it will be ac­quired by a South African com­pany for $2.2 bil­lion in a deal that re­quires US gov­ern­ment ap­proval.

Sibanye Gold Lim­ited will buy Lit­tle­ton, Colorado-based Still­wa­ter Min­ing Com­pany un­der a merger agree­ment ex­pected to close in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2017, said Still­wa­ter Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Mick McMullen. Sibanye (sih-BAHN’-yay) also will as­sume $500 mil­lion of Still­wa­ter’s debt.

Still­wa­ter is the only US pro­ducer of plat­inum and pal­la­dium, pre­cious met­als used in cat­alytic con­vert­ers to re­duce pollution from cars and tracks, and as jewelry. It em­ploys more than 1,400 peo­ple at two mines in south­ern Mon­tana’s Beartooth Moun­tains and at a smelter and re­fin­ery in the small Mon­tana town of Columbus.

As pre­cious met­als prices dropped in re­cent years, the com­pany cut its work­force sig­nif­i­cantly, in­clud­ing about 120 work­ers from the Still­wa­ter Mine and the Columbus fa­cil­ity. With prices ris­ing for pal­la­dium, most of those work­ers have since been re­hired and McMullen said he does not an­tic­i­pate fur­ther job losses stem­ming Fri­day’s an­nounce­ment.

“It’s busi­ness as usual,” McMullen told The As­so­ci­ated Press in a tele­phone interview. “These guys (Sibanye) have bought into a com­pany that’s not a turn­around story. This thing is run­ning it­self.”

A US sub­sidiary of Sibanye will pay $18 per share in cash in the ac­qui­si­tion, Still­wa­ter said. Sibanye also will take on some of Still­wa­ter’s debt. Still­wa­ter’s pend­ing plans to ex­pand op­er­a­tions with two min­ing projects lo­cated near its ex­ist­ing mines and known as Blitz and Lower East Boul­der will con­tinue.

The deal was ap­proved unan­i­mously by Still­wa­ter’s board of di­rec­tors, of which for­mer Mon­tana Gov. Brian Sch­weitzer is chair­man. The two-term gov­er­nor and other board mem­bers will re­sign when the deal closes. Scott McGin­nis with United Steel­work­ers Lo­cal 11-0001, the union for much of the com­pany’s work­force, said min­ers had no fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the im­pact of the deal but will meet with Sibanye rep­re­sen­ta­tives on Mon­day. The ac­qui­si­tion must be ap­proved by the two com­pa­nies’ share­hold­ers and the Com­mit­tee on For­eign In­vest­ment in the United States, an in­ter-agency com­mit­tee that re­views takeovers of US busi­nesses by for­eign en­ti­ties. — AP

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