Sibanye makes cash offer for Aquarius Platinum

Cape Town - Sibanye Gold [JSE:SGL] on Tuesday announced a cash offer of R2.66 per share for the entire issued share capital of Aquarius Platinum [JSE:AQP], valuing Aquarius at R4bn.

Sibanye said the transaction has a strong strategic and financial rationale, on a stand-alone basis but especially when considered in conjunction with the Rustenburg platinum group metal (PGM) operations it recently agreed to acquire from Anglo American Platinum [JSE:AMS].

Sibanye shares surged more than 13% following the announcement and at 12:30 the shares were changing hands at R19.70 (+9.87%). Aquarius Platinum was up 40% at R2.38.

The Aquarius board has unanimously recommended that the company's shareholders vote in favour of the offer at a special general meeting, which is yet to be scheduled.

Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman said the acquisition of Aquarius is complementary with its Rustenburg acquisition. "At higher PGM prices, these assets will substantially increase earnings and value for Sibanye shareholders,” said Froneman.

Aquarius owns stakes in the Kroondal mine and Platinum Mile retreatment facilities near Rustenburg, and the Mimosa joint venture with Impala Platinum [JSE:IMP] in Zimbabwe.

"The Aquarius operations are efficiently managed, mechanised and low-cost operations that will consolidate Sibanye’s position in the South African PGM sector and also provide Sibanye with additional PGM operational experience," said Sibanye in a statement.

It added that the deal provides an entry point into Zimbabwe, "which hosts the second largest platinum reserves in the world and represents significant, low cost optionality".

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