Sibanye Mulled Lonmin Before Stillwater Deal, B. Day Says

  • South African companies discussed merger of platinum assets
  • Sibanye instead decided to pay $2.2 billion for U.S. miner

Sibanye Gold Ltd. held talks on a merger with Lonmin Plc before deciding to buy Montana-based Stillwater Mining Co. for $2.2 billion instead, Business Day reported, citing two people close to the talks that the newspaper didn’t identify.

The two South African companies held talks for “some time” before Sibanye announced its agreement with Stillwater, Johannesburg-based Business Day said in an article published Monday.

Sibanye looked at all growth opportunities in the platinum industry, especially in South Africa’s geological formation known as the Western Limb, where Lonmin’s mines are located, spokesman James Wellsted said by phone on Monday. Lonmin spokeswoman Wendy Tlou declined to comment.

Sibanye was on the hunt for acquisitions after buying Aquarius Platinum Ltd. and three mines from Anglo American Platinum Ltd. Its decision to buy Stillwater, the only U.S. miner of platinum-group metals, will be the biggest takeover by a South African mining company since 2001 once it’s completed.

The transaction will make Sibanye the world’s fourth-largest producer of platinum-group metals behind Anglo American Platinum, MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. The company last year considered a merger with Impala before the companies’ share prices diverged, making it too expensive to pursue, people familiar with the matter said in October.

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