Platinum Companies To Merge

July 25, 2000

Platinum Companies To Merge

Aquarius Platinum, the Australian platinum exploration group, announced Monday it plans to purchase Kroondal, the South African platinum producer, for $72.3 million in stock.

As terms of the deal, Aquarius will issue 100 Aquarius ordinary shares for every 100 Kroondal ordinary shares at a price 25% higher than Kroondal's Friday closing price. Aquarius already owns 44% of Kroondal's shares.

"This merger will bring significant benefits to the company and its shareholders," Dave Evans, Kroondal's managing director, told the Financial Times. "Aquarius' ability to source new projects is enhanced by Kroondal's ability to develop and operate mines."

If approved, the merger will become effective in two months, with Kroondal delisting from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on Sept. 15 and Aquarius listing on Sept. 18. Aquarius is already listed on the London and the Australian stock exchanges. According to the Financial Times, the merged company will be worth $302 million, and South Africa's Impala Platinum, the world's second-largest producer of metal, will have a 10%-12% stake in the new group.

- by Julia M. Duncan