Lonmin investors back Sibanye deal to create platinum giant

JOHANNESBURG • Lonmin plc investors have backed the platinum producer’s takeover by Sibanye Gold Ltd, bringing to an end a company that was once part of a business empire synonymous with British capitalism in Africa.

Sibanye’s all-share takeover was backed by 98.87% of votes cast at a meeting in London yesterday, based on provisional results, passing the required threshold of 75%.

The vote is a triumph for Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman, a prolific dealmaker who faced investor concerns that his offer undervalues Lonmin’s assets. Sibanye investors approved the deal earlier in the day.

Froneman, who had already seen off a challenge to the deal from Lonmin’s biggest labour union, will gain access to his rival’s processing facilities and some of the lowest-cost shafts in the industry. The combined entity will challenge Anglo American plc’s platinum business as the world’s biggest primary producer of the metal.

Lonmin agreed to the offer after struggling through years of losses and being forced to seek debt-covenant waivers from lenders. CEO Ben Magara backed the deal, saying that on its own Lonmin lacked the capital to invest in its operations.

SBG Securities Ltd said the transaction undervalues Lonmin’s assets by as much as US$460 million (RM1.93 billion). — Bloomberg