Paladin increases Niger holding

12 October 2010

Paladin Energy's holding in uranium exploration company NGM Resources, which holds exploration tenements in Niger, has increased after the Australian government's Takeovers Panel ruled against Paladin's attempts to pull back from a takeover bid. 

 

Paladin had announced on 24 September that it would be allowing its takeover offer for NGM to lapse on 8 October, citing non-fulfilment of so-called defeating conditions in its bidders statement, which amongst other things had included a clause on the outbreak of hostilities or terrorism. According to Paladin, the 16 September kidnapping of seven people including Areva employees from the town of Arlit in Niger's uranium mining region, allegedly by bandits associated with Al-Qaeda, constituted sufficient grounds to invoke the defeating condition.

 

"In the light of these material unforeseen events, NGM's ability to safely access, explore and develop the resource base of its exploration tenements ... would be seriously compromised," Paladin claimed, adding that safety concerns "would prevent Paladin Group expatriate personnel from working in Niger's uranium region within a suitably secure environment for an, as yet, unknown period of time."

 

The Australian Takeovers Panel begged to differ. On 8 October, it issued a ruling that the events in Niger did not satisfy the requirements of the conditions and that no "materially adverse effect" on NGM had been shown. It required Paladin immediately to withdraw its earlier statement and reinstate the earlier closure date of 22 October for its takeover bid, which NGM is recommending its shareholders to accept.

 

Paladin complied with the Takeovers Panel's direction, although noting that "Paladin holds a different view from the Takeovers Panel" over the events in Niger and their likely repercussions. As of 8 October, Paladin's stake in NGM had increased from 71.8% to 78.9%. Paladin must acquire a 90% interest in NGM by the closure date of 22 October or the bid will lapse, assuming no other defeating conditions are invoked by then.

 

Paladin currently operates uranium mines in Namibia and Malawi, as well as projects in various stages of exploration and early stage development in Australia.

 

Researched and written

by World Nuclear News

 

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