Deadline nears for consortium of suitors looking at ENRC bid

Marion Dakers
A GROUP of shareholders in mining group ENRC has until Friday to either make a formal bid for the firm or secure extra time from the Takeover Panel.

The investors, led by founding shareholder and billionaire Alexander Mashkevich, are expected to ask for an extension early this week, according to reports at the weekend.

The consortium broke cover last month to confirm an interest in bidding for ENRC, whose shares have lost 40 per cent of their value in the last year amid falling commodity prices, a string of boardroom upsets and an ongoing fraud investigation.

Under Takeover Panel rules, the group has until 5pm on Friday to make a bid, or walk away from negotiations for at least six months.

Societe Generale, the bank advising the possible bidders, is expected to lodge a request for an extension in the next day or two, as the group tries to put in place a financing package for its offer.

The investors include the Kazakh government, which holds a 12 per cent stake in ENRC. Together, the consortium already controls 55 per cent of the company’s equity.

The FTSE 100-listed miner is interviewing brokers to replace Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank, which quit their roles shortly after ENRC chairman Mehmet Dalman stepped down.

Shares in ENRC closed last week at 293.9p, valuing the company at £3.8bn.