Norilsk to Bid for Iorich’s Nickel Miner to Grow in Vietnam

OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s largest mining company, plans to bid for Vladimir Iorich’s Asian Mineral Resources Ltd. (ASN) to gain access to a nickel-copper project in Vietnam.

Norilsk will offer С$0.11 ($0.11) a share for the Toronto- based company, it said yesterday in a statement. The bid, to be submitted June 4, represents a premium of about 69 percent over the 20-day average price through May 22 and will be open for at least 35 days, it said.

The Russian mining company, the world’s largest producer of nickel, is looking to add resources and broaden its geographic reach under a $35 billion investment strategy that runs to 2025. Norilsk is seeking to increase metals production overseas to equal its output at home, it said in October, adding that Latin American, African and Indonesian projects are being studied.

Asian Mineral Resources more than doubled in value in Toronto today, trading at C$0.08 as of 11:38 a.m. local time, valuing the company at C$16.2 million.

“Norilsk’s proposed offer contains a number of terms which are vague and highly conditional,” the Canadian company said in a statement. “There is significant risk that Norilsk’s proposal will not result in an offer to AMR shareholders which is capable of being completed.”

Asian Mineral Resources is developing Vietnam’s Ban Phuc project, which has 200,000 metric tons of nickel resources and 18,000 tons of copper, according to its website. The company is 77.8 percent-owned by Iorich’s Pala Investment Holding, the website shows.

Iorich was also a shareholder in Russian coal producer OAO Mechel (MTL) until he sold his stake to fellow billionaire Igor Zyuzin in 2006.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ilya Khrennikov in Moscow at ikhrennikov@bloomberg.net; Yuliya Fedorinova in Moscow at yfedorinova@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net.

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