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


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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