Aim-listed African Platinum, founded by former England cricketer Phil Edmonds, has agreed a £297m takeover from Impala Platinum of South Africa, it said on Friday morning.

The offer values African Platinum (Afplats) at 55p a share, a premium of 35 per cent to the closing price of 40.75p on Tuesday - the day before the two groups announced that they were in talks.

Impala Platinum, one of the world’s biggest producers of the metal, has received irrevocable undertakings from 21.3 per cent of shareholders.

The deal gives the company the prospecting permit to the Leeuwkop Project, Impala’s biggest asset.

Leeuwkop is one of the largest remaining resources in the Western Limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex in South Africa. Most of the world’s platinum, a very rare metal, comes from Bushveld.

Big platinum producers such as Impala are keen to secure new reserves of the metal and have the firepower to do so after a spike in platinum prices. The company this week announced a 135 per cent rise in earnings to R8.24 a share for the six months to December 31.

Roy Pitchford, chief executive of Afplats, said the group’s assets would require significant investment over several years. The offer from Impala removed “the uncertainties inherent in such an investment”, he said.

Mr Pitchford has said in the past that Leeuwkop could be in operation by 2009 or 2010.

Afplats’ share price hit a low of 20p in October but has since climbed.

In December, Impala and African Platinum formed an initial relationship when Afplats agreed to sell 29.9 per cent of its South African assets to Impala for R1.07bn (Dollars 148m) in order to get help with developing Leeuwkop.

The company, formerly called Southern African Resources, was founded by Phil Edmonds, the former England cricketer, and Andrew Groves, his business partner, as part of Camec, their diversified mining group.

Mr Edmonds no longer holds a stake in the group but Mr Groves has 0.36 per cent - equal to .£1.07m.

The business was spun off from Camec and renamed African Platinum in 2005, and it is understood Mr Edmonds and Mr Groves no longer hold significant stakes.

Last summer saw a successful attempt to unseat chairman Charles Hansard by Connecticut-based hedge fund North Sound Capital, Afplats’ biggest shareholder with almost 12 per cent of the group.

Only last month it was reported that North Sound Capital was unhappy with December’s initial sale of the 29.9 per cent stake to Impala.

Although the hedge fund refused to comment, “sources” told a newspaper that the group thought a price closer to 70p a share would have been more appropriate.

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