reuters: “China has approved Hanlong Mining’s long-delayed $1.3 billion takeover bid for Australian iron ore developer Sundance Resources (SDL.AX), a vote of confidence for a sector grappling with falling prices and weak demand as the global economy cools.
Hanlong, which already owns 17 percent of Sundance, wants the company for its $4.7 billion Mbalam iron ore project on the border of the republics of Congo and Cameroon in western Africa. The region is seen as a major new source of iron ore that could cut China’s dependence on Australia and Brazil.
“We have gotten approval from the National Development and Reform Commission. It was approved yesterday,” a media officer from Hanlong told Reuters on Wednesday.
With the approval from the top economic planner, Hanlong now needs finance from China Development Bank to complete the deal that was agreed a year ago, when the iron ore price outlook was far more positive.
The deal’s lengthy delays had pointed to China’s reluctance to make big bets on risky resources projects offshore amid uncertainty over economic growth at home.
China, the world’s second-largest economy, has seen six consecutive quarters of slower growth and commodity stockpiles mushroom, weighing on prices.
Iron ore prices are languishing near their lowest level in more than two and a half years.
Under the agreement, Hanlong must secure China Development Bank’s blessings by Aug 31 to buy the shares it does not already own at A$0.57 per share, valuing the company at A$1.74 billion.
Media reports in Australia on Wednesday said Hanlong had reduced the deal to 50 cents a share and Sundance board was expected to recommend the new offer. It was not immediately clear whether the offer had been cut. A Sundance spokeswoman declined to comment.
Sundance shares last traded at A$0.335 cents, 41 percent below Hanlong’s offer, reflecting concerns the deal would not proceed. The stock was placed on a trading halt on Tuesday.
Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board approved Hanlong’s bid for Sundance in June.”