Hancock secures compulsory takeover of Atlas Iron in Rinehart win

Mulga Downs

Hancock Prospecting executive chairman Gina Rinehart.

Hancock Prospecting subsidiary Redstone Corporation has secured over 90 per cent of Atlas Iron’s shares, allowing the Gina Rinehart-owned company to commence a compulsory acquisition of the junior iron ore company.

In line with a previous announcement, Redstone will offer 4.6 cents per Atlas share for the remaining shares of the company, an increase on the previous offer of 4.2 cents per share on the condition Redstone’s stake in Atlas increases to at least 87 per cent, which has now been satisfied.

The 4.6 cents-per-share offer is available to Atlas shareholders until October 12.

Hancock chief executive officer Garry Korte encouraged Atlas shareholders to accept the offer for the remaining shares.

“We are delighted to have achieved relevant interests in Atlas shares of more than 90 per cent,” he said.

“We will now be turning our attention to how best to integrate the Atlas business into the broader iron ore interests within the Hancock group. Again, we thank Atlas shareholders for their strong support of the offer.”

The bidding war over Atlas Iron’s shares commenced in April when Mineral Resources announced plans to purchase the beleaguered company for around $280 million.

Fortescue Metals Group then complicated MinRes’s plans in June when it purchased 19.9 per cent of Atlas Iron (15 per cent at 4 cents per share plus 4.9 per cent cash-settled swap).

This was just below the 20 per cent threshold required to make a legal bid for a full takeover.

Hancock then one-upped this with a 19.96 per cent bid the following week, followed by a $390 million offer for Atlas outright that caused Fortescue to accuse the former of misleading information in its bidder’s statement.

The Takeovers Panel eventually cleared Hancock regarding Fortescue’s claims of misleading statements, opening Hancock subsidiary Redstone to continue its push for Atlas.

Media reports argued that one of the primary attractions for the  two majors regarding the purchase of Atlas was to secure its strategically advantageous port facilities at Port Hedland in Western Australia.

Now that Hancock has achieved 90 per cent of the company, the announcement of future plans for Atlas will no doubt receive industry-wide attention.

In other recent news related to Hancock, the company launched the new Baby Hope mine as part of its Hope Downs joint venture with Rio Tinto in the Pilbara. It is the fourth pit at the 46.9Mt/y project.

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