Investors have approved a controversial rescue bid by rival Anglo American for troubled mining firm Sirius Minerals.
The meeting in London today approved the deal with 80.3 per cent of votes in favour and 19.7 per cent against. It will provide a saving grace for Sirius’ north Yorkshire mine, which was set to be closed if no deal could be reached.
At market close this afternoon, shares in Sirius and Anglo American were up 7.70 and 3.17 per cent respectively.
“The positive outcome from today’s meeting secures a return for shareholders, and provides greater certainty in terms of safeguarding the project, protecting the jobs of our employees, and allowing the community, region and the UK to continue to benefit from the project,” Sirius chairman Russell Scrimshaw said.
Sirius boss Chris Fraser had previously urged shareholders to support the Anglo deal, saying there was no obvious alternative.
This view was shared by local conservative MP Robert Goodwill, who is an investor himself. Many local people had also backed the Yorkshire project, some reportedly putting in their life savings.
Yesterday however, a rift broke out between more high profile investors.
Jupiter Fund Management, who hold a 7.8 per cent stake in Sirius, pledged to vote for the deal. However, Crispin Odey, husband of Jupiter boss Nichola Pease, had been a long term critic of Anglo’s proposal.
Odey argued the original price per share offering of 5.5p was too low, and as Anglo’s offer was not “best and final”, a high offer could still be made.
Odey holds an estimated 1.3 per cent share in Sirius.
The proposed mine, under the North Yorkshire Moors, is thought to be the largest deposit of potash fertiliser in the world. The project has had the support of local people in the area, where up to 1,000 jobs could be created.
In the nearby Tees Valley, hopes are high more indirect jobs could be created through exporting the material.
The news came on the same day that the future of British Steel’s plants in Scunthorpe and Teeside was secured through investment by Chinese firm Jingye group.
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