Major shareholder urges Sirius to explore alternative financing

Major shareholder urges Sirius to explore alternative financing

Jupiter Asset Management, the second largest shareholder in Sirius Minerals plc (with an approximately 7.8% shareholding), has urged the board to explore alternative rescue plans, such as the proposal disclosed in its announcement recommending a takeover by Anglo American plc on 20 January 2020. Although the company’s board has suggested to shareholders that an offer by Anglo American is the only viable option, Jupiter does not seem to be convinced.

In its recommendation of the Anglo American takeover, Sirius’ board disclosed that they had received a debt financing proposal from a consortium of financial investors. On 9 January 2020 the company had received a non-binding term sheet from this consortium which outlined the workings of a $680 million (£519 million) funding package. The board, having examined the terms of the of proposal, concluded that it would not be possible to implement the funding by March 2020, the date by which Sirius has to secure funding for its Woodsmith Potash mine (See more here).

The decision to shun this financing option has not pleased shareholders such as Jupiter, as such a deal would have kept Sirius listed on the London Stock Exchange and may have given investors a chance to recover the heavy losses they have suffered.

Although Jupiter has not indicated if it would vote against the takeover (and so far, no date has been set for a Court or General Meeting), it has stated that:

'We would like to be able to consider a stand-alone financing proposal that would enable shareholders to remain invested in the project, as an alternative to the existing offer from Anglo American.'

Market Tracker will continue to monitor this transaction as it develops. 

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