African Minerals Sticks With Talks on Delayed $990 Million Sale

African Minerals Ltd. (AMI), the biggest iron-ore producer in Sierra Leone, said talks with a Chinese trader on a delayed $990 million deal are continuing and the company hopes to complete the transaction this year.

Tianjin Materials & Equipment Group Corp. of China, known as Tewoo, agreed in September to buy a 16.5 percent stake in the Tonkolili mine in a deal valuing the operation at $6 billion. London-based African Minerals, which has a market value of $869 million, originally sought to complete the sale by the end of last year.

“I look forward to welcoming them as a shareholder subject to completion of due diligence, documentation and negotiation of the transaction,” Frank Timis, the company’s executive chairman, said today in a statement. The two parties remain in talks on “outstanding commercial terms,” African Minerals said.

The deal includes a 20-year sales accord for 10 million metric tons of iron ore annually. State-owned Tewoo already imports iron ore from Australia, Brazil and Indonesia. It received two trial ore shipments in the fourth quarter of last year which African Minerals today said met Tewoo’s expectations.

African Minerals reported a net loss of $53.7 million, or 16.2 cents a share, for 2013, compared with profit of $36 million, or 10.9 cents, a year earlier, according to today’s statement. Sales were $869.1 million.

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