Me­torex gets nod of ap­proval

Span­ish fluorspar com­pany forks out R100m

Finweek English Edition - - Companies & markets - LLEWELLYN JONES

SA MIN­ING GROUP Me­torex re­ceived a R100m vote of con­fi­dence from Span­ish share­hold­ers Min­erales Y Pro­duc­tos Deri­va­dos last week.

The 5m shares bought by the Span­ish group rep­re­sent just over 1,6% of Me­torex’s is­sued share cap­i­tal. Min­erales Y Pro­duc­tos Deri­va­dos is the largest pro­ducer and con­sumer of fluorspar in Europe.

The Span­ish group’s in­ter­ests are rep­re­sented on Me­torex’s board by Al­berto Bar­renechea, who ad­vises the SA com­pany on plant up­grades and the gen­eral met­al­lur­gi­cal process of Me­torex’s fluorspar mine, Verge­noeg.

In the six months to De­cem­ber, fluorspar ac­counted for 15% of Me­torex’s rev­enue with the bal­ance com­ing from cop­per, gold and an­ti­mony. De­mand for fluorspar has shown con­tin­ued growth over the past year, sharply un­der­pin­ning an im­proved per­for­mance at Me­torex and Sal­lies, an­other of SA’s fluorspar min­ers.

Last year, re­tail king­pin Christo Wiese added fluorspar to his port­fo­lio of private in­vest­ments when he un­der­wrote a rights of­fer at Sal­lies and pur­chased the larger part of FRM Strate­gies’ stake in the min­ing min­now.

Fluorspar is a key in­gre­di­ent in the jug­ger­naut of mod­ern in­dus­try.

Acid grade fluorspar is used in the pro­duc­tion of hy­droflu­o­ric acid that’s used in a variety of pro­cesses in­clud­ing the pu­rifi­ca­tion of alu­minium as well as the syn­the­sis of flu­o­rine com­pounds like Teflon and re­frig­er­ants.

Met­al­lur­gi­cal grade fluorspar is used pri­mar­ily as flux in steel­mak­ing to lower the melt­ing point and re­move im­pu­ri­ties. It’s also used as a flux in the pro­duc­tion of ce­ment.

Ce­ramic grade fluorspar is used in the glass, fi­bre­glass and ce­ramic in­dus­tries, as well as in the man­u­fac­ture of mag­ne­sium and cal­cium and weld­ing rod coat­ings.

Also in­ter­est­ing last week was the dis­clo­sure note from Ned­bank say­ing that op­tions ac­cru­ing to cer­tain direc­tors, in­clud­ing CEO Tom Board­man, would be laps­ing. The bank­ing group said the share op­tions were linked to the group’s achieve­ment of pre­de­ter­mined fi­nan­cial tar­gets, which have not been met.

Board­man is in good com­pany, join­ing an exclusive club of direc­tors – in­clud­ing direc­tors of Old Mu­tual and An­glo Amer­i­can – who have failed to meet the de­mand­ing “stretch­ing” tar­gets set by the re­mu­ner­a­tion com­mit­tees of their re­spec­tive com­pa­nies.

Share­hold­ers will no doubt be pleased to see that th­ese are real tar­gets de­mand­ing com­mit­ment and hard work, rather than a form of dis­guised in­come so typ­i­cal of SA’s cor­po­rate his­tory.


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