Hanlong bid for Sundance fails to progress
Hanlong Group has left Sundance Resources shareholders none the wiser over the fate of its protracted $1.3 billion takeover play, with the Chinese group set to miss another key deadline.
The market had already been sceptical over whether Hanlong would be able to produce a credit approval from its financier, the state-run China Development Bank, by Thursday.
After calling a trading halt on Wednesday, Sundance – targeted for its $4.7 billion Mbalam iron ore project in Africa on the border between Cameroon and the Republic of Congo – cancelled a shareholder meeting to approve the deal scheduled for Friday.
Throwing the deal into further doubt, Sundance said it was seeking clarification whether the privately-owned Hanlong, headed up by billionaire Liu Han, had extended the provisional approval it had received for the deal from China’s National Development and Reform Commission last August.
Sundance shares last traded at 34 cents, about 24 per cent below the offer price of 45 cents.
The bid, first launched 18 months ago, was met with much fanfare and claims Mbalam’s 10 billion tonnes of iron ore reserves would help China reduce its dependence on iron ore imports from Australia and Brazil – and make Hanlong the ‘‘fifth force’’ in iron ore.
But the bid was initially held up by mining permit delays and more recently by slow approvals from China.
Hanlong has repeatedly missed deadlines to produce proof that it had secured funding for the takeover.
A stumbling block in it securing finance is understood to be – apart from the acquisition price – the more than $4 billion rail and infrastructure costs associated with developing the project.
Hanlong Group was in talks with Wuhan Iron & Steel, China's fourth-largest steelmaker, and other Chinese state-owned companies to help develop the project, Bloomberg reported earlier this month.