Sat, Jun 23, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Australia approves Sundance takeover by Sichuan Hanlong

AFP, SYDNEY and MADRID

Australia’s Sundance Resources yesterday said the country’s foreign investment watchdog had approved its A$1.65 billion (US$1.65 billion) takeover by Chinese suitor Sichuan Hanlong Group (四川漢龍集團).

In a statement to the Australian stock exchange the iron ore explorer said the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) had no objection to the Chinese company’s proposed acquisition.

Sundance chairman George Jones said FIRB approval represented “another significant step” toward the completion of the deal, which must still be approved by Chinese regulators by Saturday.

“The support shown by FIRB will assist Hanlong in obtaining the requisite approvals in China,” Sundance said in a statement.

The approval comes despite a probe into several former Hanlong executives by Australia’s corporate watchdog on claims of insider dealing related to the deal for Sundance, as well as uranium explorer Bannerman.

Hanlong vice-president Calvin Zhu (朱博施) and director Steven Hui Xiao (肖輝) had their assets frozen under a Supreme Court order sought by the Australian Securities Investments Commission.

Hanlong made a A$0.50 per share bid in July last year to take over Perth-based Sundance, an iron ore, copper and gold miner with projects in central Africa, but later sweetened its offer to A$0.57.

Under the proposal, Hanlong will buy 100 percent of Sundance shares through a scheme of arrangement.

Beijing’s interest in Australia’s mining firms has sparked intense debate in the country over whether to allow Chinese state-owned entities to increase their control over its resources.

Separately, Spanish infrastructure group Abertis said yesterday it had sold a 7 percent stake in leading European satellite operator Eutelsat to China’s sovereign wealth fund.

China Investment Corp (CIC, 中國投資公司), which manages the nation’s sovereign fund, paid 385.2 million euros (US$483 million) for the stake, Abertis said in a statement.

Abertis, which had already sold a 16 percent stake in Eutelsat in January in a private placement to investors, was left with an 8.35 percent stake in the satellite operator.

“Abertis keeps on reshuffling its holdings in the satellite infrastructure business and strengthening its commitment to growth, specifically targeting projects in which it can take an industry leadership role and a greater financial consolidation,” the Spanish firm said.

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