Areva of France has made a friendly takeover bid for South African uranium exploration company UraMin, offering more than $2.5 billion in cash for 100% of UraMin's share capital.
The cash offer bid will be made through Areva's indirect wholly-owned subsidiary CFMM Developpement based on a price of $7.75 per UraMin share. UraMin's board, after consulting financial advisors, has determined that the offer is fair and in the best interest of the UraMin shareholders and it has resolved to recommend acceptance of the offer.
Areva and UraMin have entered into a support agreement in respect of Areva's takeover offer. The agreement provides for, among other things, in case a superior proposal is accepted by UraMin, a right to match in favour of Areva. It also includes a break up fee in favour of Areva of $75 million under certain circumstances.
UraMin is currently focusing on the development of its advanced stage exploration projects at Trekkopje in Namibia, Bakouma in the Central African Republic and Ryst Kuil in South Africa. The company also has a number of exploration projects in Africa (Chad, Niger, Senegal, Mozambique and Bakouma) and joint venture projects in Canada (the Rea Project within the Athabasca Basin in Alberta and the Labrador Project in Quebec).
Olivier Mallet, Senior Executive Vice President of the Areva's Mining, Chemistry and Enrichment business said, "The commissioning of these assets would enable Areva to develop and further diversify its sourcing, thereby securing its clients' long term uranium needs. UraMin's acquisition perfectly fits into Areva's strategy in the mining sector. It will allow combining the mining resources of both companies, as well as their respective human expertise."
Mallet added, "For Areva, it will result in a significant increase of uranium production in the medium term. Through the main projects - located in South Africa, Namibia, and Central African Republic - Areva plans to reach a yearly production of about 18 million pounds of U3O8 after 2012. Areva has the technical and commercial capabilities to rapidly commission UraMin projects and market its production."
State-owned Areva currently has uranium production facilities in Canada, Kazakhstan and Niger.
"UraMin's potential production capability gives Areva the opportunity to strengthen its position as one of the largest uranium producers in the world," said Stephen Dattels, UraMin founder and executive deputy chairman.
UraMin announced last week that it was in negotiations with an undisclosed bidder regarding the potential sale of the company.
WNA's Uranium in Africa information paper
WNN: UraMin confirms takeover talks