Wednesday 19 June 2019 11:39 am

Acacia takes aim at biggest shareholder Barrick

Acacia Mining hit out at its main shareholder Barrick Gold this morning, as a takeover offer from Barrick looms.

The London and Tanzania-based miner said it “strongly disagrees” with a “number” of statements made by Barrick last night.

Read more: Acacia shareholder Odey will vote against Barrick bid if it stays unchanged

The firm was also surprised by the timing. It came after Acacia yesterday agreed to give Barrick more time to make a firm takeover offer.

In May Barrick approached Acacia’s board with an indicative offer which values the miner at $887.8m (£705m).

Barrick, which already owns around 64 per cent of Acacia, proposed to buy out the minority shareholders.

However when the deadline to make a firm offer arrived yesterday, Acacia said it had agreed to extend until 9 July.

It comes against the backdrop of a tax dispute with the Tanzanian government. The regime of President John Magufuli has claimed that Acacia under-reported the level of gold in its exports for decades.

It said Acacia owes $190bn – or around four times Tanzania’s annual GDP – in back taxes.

Barrick said in May that the administration now refuses to speak to Acacia directly.

“In Barrick’s view, it is now clear that the relationship of Acacia with the GoT has been so damaged … that it is no longer possible for Acacia to continue to function as an independent public company,” it said in a statement yesterday.

Acacia did not reveal which of yesterday’s statements it took specific issue with.

Read more: Barrick Gold mulls $787m bid for Acacia Mining as it makes ‘significant progress’ in spat with Tanzania

However, management in the past has expressed frustration over how Barrick has gone above its head to negotiate directly with Magufuli, cutting Acacia out of the loop.

Acacia has been under a ban on exporting so-called gold concentrates since 2017, forcing it to abandon large parts of its operations.