Sirius Minerals investor Hancock Prospecting not involved in bidding for ailing potash company

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Mining and agricultural business Hancock Prospecting has reiterated it is on the sidelines regarding takeover talks for troubled fertiliser company Sirius Minerals PLC (LON:SXX).


“Hancock confirms that it has never indicated that it intended to make a bid for Sirius, and has not changed its position,” a spokesperson told Proactive.


Hancock, owned by Australian tycoon Gina Rinehart, provided Sirius with US$250mln in 2018, when the North Yorkshire project proved more costly than expected.


It came as part of an initial US$300mln agreement inked in 2016, which included a royalty on potash production as well as US$50mln-worth of shares in Sirius.


However, Rinehart gave up on the right for a stake in the company after the cash injection in 2018, while the royalty remains a condition of the deal.


Shareholders in cash-strapped Sirius are meeting on 3 March to vote on a takeover proposal by Anglo American plc (LON:AAL).


The FTSE 100-listed miner has offered US$525mln or 5.5p per share. A year ago, the stock was worth 20p.


Sirius’s board has backed the deal, though some private and institutional investors claim it “significantly undervalues” the company.


A band of private shareholders has set up an action group to raise cash in an attempt to stop Anglo American’s proposal.


Hedge fund Odey Asset Management has taken a stake in Sirius with the aim of helping derail the Anglo bid.


Shares rose 1% to 5.25p on Tuesday afternoon.

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