A $1.2bn hostile bid by Czech miner New World Resources for Poland’s Bogdanka coal mine has lapsed after failing to attract enough support from the pension funds that are its main shareholders.
NWR, listed in Prague and London, was expected to raise its all-cash bid for Bogdanka.
However, NWR stood by its 100.75 zlotys ($32.40) a share offer. The bid lapsed on Tuesday after NWR failed to win the support of 75 per cent of Bogdanka shareholders.
“The outcome further demonstrates NWR’s record of strict financial discipline,” said Mike Salamon, executive chairman and a former top executive at BHP Billiton.
The bid was also opposed by the Polish government, which holds a 2.3 per cent stake in Bogdanka after selling most of the company last year.
“We will certainly not be responding to the bid by NWR,” Jan Bury, the deputy treasury minister, told parliament. The pension funds depend on good relations with the treasury, which is selling off many state-controlled companies.
The outcome was a blow to NWR’s stated strategy to consolidate the central European coal industry beginning with Bogdanka.
NWR, controlled by Czech magnate Zdenek Bakala, owns mines mostly on the Czech side of the Silesian coal basin. The acquisition of Bogdanka, which mines coal in eastern Poland, would give NWR an entry to the much larger Polish market.
The plan was to use Bogdanka’s local skills to develop its Silesian assets and to build a platform for possible expansion to Ukraine and other neighbouring countries, according to Mike Salamon, executive chairman.
“We do believe there is room for a strong mining platform in central Europe,” he told the Financial Times before the deal collapsed. “Given the work we have done within NWR, and the listings we have got, we are that platform.”
Miroslaw Taras, chief executive of Bogdanka, was scathing about NWR’s offer, saying it undervalued a company that he felt could act as a regional consolidator in its own right.
In 2009 Bogdanka earned 191m zlotys on revenues of 1.1bn zlotys, and in the first three-quarters of this year saw its earnings increase by 10.7 per cent to 193m zlotys on revenues of 943m zlotys.
Mr Salamon said NWR was pressing ahead with plans to reincorporate in London instead of Amsterdam, where its headquarters are based. “It is beneficial,” he said, referring to its decision to become a London-domiciled company, “because you get a much greater following in index tracking funds, analyst coverage, and the like.”
On Tuesday NWR said it was continuing to invest in its two Polish coal projects despite its inability to secure Bogdanka, which would have formed synergies with these projects.
Bogdanka shares held firm, rising marginally to 101.80 zlotys, despite NWR’s withdrawal. The shares traded at 89.20 zlotys on the day before NWR revealed its offer.
NWR shares rose less than one per cent to 698½p in London, where the miner has a secondary listing.
Get alerts on New World Resources NV when a new story is published