PanAust Seeking Takeover Offers by October Board Meeting

PanAust Ltd., an Australian copper miner that’s the target of a A$1.1 billion ($1 billion) takeover approach from China, is seeking formal offers from interested groups by October.

State-owned Guangdong Rising Assets Management Co. remains in talks after its conditional proposal of A$2.30 cash a share was rejected, Gary Stafford, managing director of the Brisbane-based company, said today in a phone interview. A second party will complete due diligence next month, he said.

“We can’t set a deadline, we are simply saying that we would expect that everyone who is in the process at the moment would have had sufficient time by early October,” Stafford said by phone from Sydney. The producer’s board will meet in mid-October, he said.

Buying PanAust would give the acquirer control of a producing Laos mine as well as the Frieda River project in Papua New Guinea, described by the target as one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits. It agreed last year to buy Glencore Plc’s stake in Frieda River, estimating the development costs at as much as $1.8 billion.

PanAust, which today reported a 28 percent fall in first-half profit, declined 2.1 percent to close at A$2.30 in Sydney trading.

The bid from Guangdong, which owns 23 percent of PanAust and is its biggest shareholder according to data compiled by Bloomberg, valued the producer at about A$1.5 billion. PanAust has offered Guangdong and others access to information to facilitate a higher proposal, it said in May.

“These things take up a lot of time, if someone is serious they need to put up a serious proposal to us, if they are not then we will move on,” Stafford said. Some parties granted access to a data room have opted not to pursue their interest, while others continue to deliberate, he said.

Frieda River may produce 100,000 metric tons of copper and 160,000 ounces of gold annually and have a mine life of 18 years, according to a company filing.

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