I have received a few emails and comments on Felix and the chances of a counter offer. In summary, a counter is likely.
There are three criteria that determine the chances of a counter:
Based on Yanzhou’s $18 offer they should see a 60% plus return in 2-3 years. This clearly support a counter offer. Furthermore there are parties that could create synergies from buying Felix, thereby creating an even greater return. At $24 there would still be a 20% return before synergies. If Xstrata were to bid then they could achieve substantially more than 20% because their Ulan mine is next door to Felix’s Moolarben mine. Examples of synergies would include shared transport infrastructure or marketing.
Next we consider the contract signed between Felix and Yanzhou. I was surprised by the small break fee of A$33M . While Felix directors are prevented from actively seeking another offer. They are allowed to negotiate and assist a potential acquirer once a superior offer is made. The contract appears quite supportive of an auction developing.
Finally the ability of other bidders to finance a bid comes into question. This is probably the biggest impediment to an alternate deal. It isn’t easy to get substantial debt or equity finance right now (unless you’re borrowing from the Chinese government). Xstrata recently did a large rights offering to reduce debt as did Rio Tinto, it therefore seems unlikely that they would bid. BHP, Vale, China Shenhua, Noble and Peabody have been identified as potential bidders. There have also been rumours that Canadian Teck Resources were looking for an Australian mine to diversify their coal sources.
By looking at Felix as a percentage of the acquiring companies capital, looking at debt to market value of equity and analysing synergies it’s easy to establish who the most likely counter bids will come from.
In closing, BHP and Vale are the obvious bidders if an auction develops. China Shenhua is not going to compete directly with Yanzhou. BHP and Vale could acquire a neat addition to their respective portfolios and achieve a high return on investment even at a substantially higher offer; both because of the attractiveness of Felix’s assets and because they would realize synergies with their existing businesses.
Vale already owns 20% of Felix so they won’t need to do substantial due diligence to put together an offer.
A counter offer is reasonably likely from a non-Chinese company with the capacity to finance. It’s unlikely that Yanzhou has made their final offer. Given the synergies on offer, the ability to pay with shares and the break fee it seems likely that a counter will cause another Australian mineral company to spurn their Chinese fiancé or at least make her increase the dowry.
Disclaimer and Disclosure Analyses are prepared from sources and data believed to be reliable, but no representation is made as to their accuracy or completeness. I am not paid by covered companies. Strategies or ideas are presented for informational purposes and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions.
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