Aquarius Platinum Wins $173 Million Bond Buyback Approval

Aquarius Platinum Ltd., which operates mines in South Africa and Zimbabwe, said holders of 58 percent of its bonds accepted a buyback proposal as the company announced terms of a rights offer.

Investors holding $172.6 million of debt due in December next year agreed to sell, the Perth-based company that trades in Johannesburg, London and Sydney said today in a statement. Aquarius will offer investors two shares for each one they hold to raise as much as $225 million to fund the buyback, it said.

Aquarius, with all except one of its platinum assets in South Africa, the world’s biggest producer of the metal, has struggled to boost cash after shutting three mines since 2011 amid an 18 percent plunge in prices.

Should the sale fetch more than the $172.6 million needed for the repurchase, the company “intends to retain any additional amounts to improve the Aquarius group’s liquidity in order to fund the future redemption” of bonds, it said.

The yield on the convertible notes due December 2015 closed at 10.25 percent yesterday, 5.28 percentage points lower in the week since the company announced a rights offer to repurchase as much as 76 percent of its $298 million of debt.

Aquarius will sell as many as 976.2 million shares at the equivalent of 23 U.S. cents each in Australian, British and South African currencies, it said in a separate statement.

The offer of A$0.25 a share is a 65 percent discount to today’s closing price in Sydney, while the 2.41 rand and 14 pence proposals are 67 percent and 65 percent lower than yesterday’s closes in Johannesburg and London.

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