ENRC awaits a bid from major shareholders

Marion Dakers
INVESTORS in Kazakh miner ENRC are in for another week of lurching share price movements as its founding shareholders weigh up a possible bid to take the firm private.

Alexander Machkevitch said on Friday that he, Alijan Ibragimov, Patokh Chodiev and the Kazakh government were in preliminary talks to make an offer.

He said the plan to take the company private after five years on the London stock market was at an early stage and it was uncertain whether an offer would be made. The Takeover Panel has given the consortium, which is being advised by Societe Generale, until 17 May to bring forward a formal offer.

ENRC, which has told shareholders to take no action yet, was not available for comment yesterday.

Together the consortium controls 56 per cent of the company’s stock. London-listed rival Kazakhmys owns a further 26 per cent.

ENRC shares closed 27 per cent up at 291p on Friday, but reports yesterday suggested the founders were not keen to pay a large premium to take the group private.

ENRC’s chief commercial officer Jim Cochrane quit two weeks ago, on the same day that ENRC split with Dechert, the law firm that was running an internal probe into allegations of corruption.

Company secretary Victoria Penrice, human resources boss Tony McCarthy and group head of reward Stuart Nolan have also left.

Head of Africa Victor Hannah has taken voluntary leave of absence. A source said he agreed to the absence while Fulcrum, another law firm, completes the investigations which were started by Dechert.