BHP asks for more time to conclude Anglo takeover

Henry

The Australian mining giant BHP asked at the eleventh hour for an extension of the deadline to conclude an agreement with Anglo American.

BHP is particularly interested in Anglo’s copper mines and on Wednesday also asked for additional guidelines to allay shareholders’ concerns after previous offers failed.

Under British law, in this case, BHP had until May 29 to accept the offer. If the company’s request for an extension is not approved, BHP must abandon its bid.

The company also plans, if the takeover goes ahead, to divide Anglo’s platinum assets in South Africa. It is expected to provoke a politically charged reaction and has already received government opposition shortly before Wednesday’s national election.

The Public Investment Corporation and the Industrial Development Corporation both have significant influence over the transaction as two of Anglo’s major shareholders.

“BHP believes its offer will contribute to South Africa’s mining industry and also bring more benefits to South African investors,” BHP said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange.

This includes a promise from BHP to maintain staff numbers at Anglo’s Johannesburg office for “at least the next three years”, as well as the continuation of Anglo’s charitable commitments in the country and the building of a center to support excellence in the mining industry.

Anglo did not immediately respond to AFP’s inquiries, but has previously indicated that it considers BHP’s offers to be a significant undervaluation of the company.