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By Alex MacDonald
LONDON--U.K.-listed Eurasian Natural Resources Corp PLC (ENRC.LN) on Friday said it has agreed to acquire the remaining stake it doesn't already own in mining company Camrose Resources Ltd. and subsidiaries for $550 million in order to consolidate and simplify its copper and cobalt assets in the Congo.
The Kazakhstan-focused miner, which expanded aggressively into Africa amid some controversy for its initial investment in Camrose, said it would buy out the remaining 49.5% stake it doesn't already own in the Congolese mining company, subject to an ENRC shareholder vote on the deal set for Dec 28.
ENRC bought a 50.5% stake in Camrose for $575 million in cash and debt obligations in a 2010 deal that involved Israeli diamond mogul Dan Gertler, a sizeable Camrose shareholder. Camrose Resources owns indirect interests in five copper and cobalt exploitation licenses in the Congo, including a majority stake in the Kolwezi copper and cobalt tailings project, now called the Roan Tailings and Reclamation or RTR Project.
At the beginning of the year ENRC paid $l.25 billion to buy out Canada-based First Quantum Minerals Ltd.'s (FM.T) residual Congolese assets and settle all lawsuits linked to the disputed ownership rights over RTR.
The latest "transaction is an integral part of the corporate governance and company structure optimisation which I set as a key priority when I assumed chairmanship," said ENRC chairman Mehmet Dalman in a statement.
The transaction will allow ENRC to produce 100,000 tons of contained copper from the copper assets in the near term after investing about $300 million in 2013. ENRC expects to produce 200,000 tons of copper annually from Africa over the next five years, the chairman said.
ENRC expects the deal to close on Dec. 28 and said its board had unanimously recommended the deal following fairness opinions from investment banks Morgan Stanley (MS) and Lazard Ltd. (LAZ).
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