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Friedland’s Ivanplats Said to Weigh $1 Billion Initial Offering

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Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. CEO Robert Friedland
Robert Friedland, founder and chief executive officer of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

Ivanplats Ltd., a mining company controlled by billionaire Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. founder Robert Friedland, may seek as much as $1 billion in an initial public offering as early as the second quarter, according to people with knowledge of the plan.

Ivanplats, which has metals deposits in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, may be valued at as much as $5 billion after the stock sale, according to the people, who declined to be identified as the process is private. The IPO may take place in Toronto, followed by a secondary listing in London, the people said.

If successful, Ivanplats’s IPO may be the biggest in Canada since Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. raised $1.3 billion in a share sale in March 2010. While the plans are subject to market conditions, the company is seeking to put out a prospectus as soon as next month, the people said.

Friedland, 61, may be turning his attention to developing new projects as Ivanhoe’s Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia heads for completion. Friedland may be moving toward selling Ivanhoe and its 66 percent stake in Oyu Tolgoi, said Marc Sontrop at Interward Asset Management Ltd.

“He roams the world looking for world-class assets, and based on his track record he’s one of the first to call when people come across a significant new resource,” Sontrop, a portfolio manager at Interward in Toronto, said in a telephone interview.

Itochu Stake

Ivanplats, formerly known as Ivanhoe Nickel & Platinum Ltd., is working with Bank of Montreal, Morgan Stanley and UBS AG on the potential IPO, according to one of the people with knowledge of the plan. A spokesman for Ivanplats declined to comment.

The mining company owns the Platreef platinum and nickel project, located north of Johannesburg in South Africa’s Bushveld mining complex. Japanese trading company Itochu Corp. holds a 10 percent stake in Platreef, giving the project an implied value of $3.5 billion, according to Ivanplats’ website.

Ivanplats also owns the Kamoa project in Congo, which it describes as the most significant copper discovery in the country in more than 100 years. Ivanplats is conducting pre-feasibility studies at both projects.

Friedland is chief executive officer of Vancouver-based Ivanhoe Mines and controls about 14 percent of the company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. He’s described as Ivanplats’ controlling shareholder on Ivanhoe Mines’ website. He had a net worth of $2.8 billion as of September, according to Forbes.

Voisey’s Bay

Friedland sold Diamond Fields Resources Inc. to Inco Ltd., the world’s second-biggest nickel producer at the time, for C$4.56 billion ($4.51 billion) in 1996 after setting up a bidding battle between Inco and Falconbridge Ltd. for Diamond Fields’s Voisey’s Bay nickel deposit in Canada.

Ivanhoe Mines said Jan. 18 it was scrapping a shareholder rights plan, which was put in place to stop an unsolicited takeover. Rio Tinto Group, which holds 49 percent of Ivanhoe Mines, intends to acquire more shares to raise its stake to more than 50 percent, Ivanhoe Mines said.

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