OZ assets mark China's largest Australian acquisition

The China Minmetals Corporation, the state-owned global developer, producer and trader of metals and minerals, has announced that its subsidiary China Minmetals Non-ferrous Metals Co. Ltd. has successfully completed its deal with Australia's OZ Minerals by acquiring most of its assets for $1.35 billion.

OZ Minerals had earlier rejected a last-minute joint attempt by Canada's RBC Capital Markets and Australia's RFC Corporate Finance to recapitalise the company, on the grounds that the proposal was less certain than the Minmetals transaction. (See: OZ Minerals Scraps RBC-RFC bid, favours Minmetal).

Minmetals' president Zhou Zhongshu said, ''The purchase of OZ Minerals is the largest single transaction that Minmetals has undertaken. In acquiring 100 per cent of this asset, it is also the largest such purchase in Australia by a Chinese company."

In order to mange the Australian resources bought from OZ Minerals, Minmetals launched in Melbourne yesterday a wholly-owned subsidiary, Mineral and Mining Group (MMG).

MMG chief executive and former OZ Minerals managing director Andrew Michelmore indicated the prospects of a 25-per cent offering of MMG to Australian investors. It is expected that the float could raise around $430 million to finance development work.

OZ Minerals said the company has repaid all its bank loans due, and has a remaining cash balance of over $575 million.