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Aditya Birla Group sweetens Northern Iron buyout offer

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"After close of market on July 23, Aditya Birla Group submitted a revised indicative, non-binding stage one proposal. The proposal supersedes Aditya Birla Group's earlier proposal dated May 1," NFE said in a filing to the Australian Stock Exchange today.

"The revised non-bonding, indicative offer per share is AUD 1.40 (implied equity value of AUD 518 million for all NFE shares outstanding)," it added.

Aditya Birla Group's initial bid, between AUD 1.23 - AUD 1.29 per share, could not meet the expectations of NFE Board, which was of the view that the offer did not really reflect the value of the company.

The proposal, according to NFE, was uncertain as it was subject to due diligence and highly conditional, including that the Aditya Birla group would need to acquire all of the shares outstanding of NFE.

However, it allowed Indian conglomerate access to certain limited due diligence information so that it could consider making a higher indicative, non-binding proposal.

NFE owns the Sydvaranger iron project in northern Norway. It has the necessary infrastructure in place to produce and export high quality iron ore concentrate to the steel industry customers worldwide. The existing reserves has more than 25 years of mine life.

The Sydvaranger iron project consists of four magnetite iron deposits and 20 other deposits. It is located around 1,500-km north-east of Norway capital, Oslo. NFE had acquired the company in 2007.

It is evaluating the feasibility of doubling output from the project to 5.6 million tonnes dry iron ore concentrate per annum. An engineering scoping study has been completed in recent times and the process for achieving the required government consents has commenced.

Aditya Birla Group is into the mining business through a group company Essel Mining and Industries. Set up in 1950, Essel Mining is amongst India's largest iron ore mining companies.

  

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