Nordgold raises offer for Cardinal

Cardinal has urged shareholders not to take any action with regard to the increased Nordgold offer. (Image: Cardinal Resources)

Nordgold has increased its offer price for Cardinal Resources from A$1.00 to A$1.05 a share, matching an offer from Shandong Gold Mining.

The Russian company said on Friday that its increased offer price was an unconditional on-market all-cash offer, which will close on December 23.

Cardinal said in a press release that it has obligations under the Bid Implementation Agreement with Shandong Gold and urged shareholders to take no action in relation to Nordgold’s new offer.

Last month, the Ghanaian firm Engineers & Planners Company also presented an all-cash, unsolicited offer for the Australian miner.

Long battle

Nordgold first approached Cardinal in March with an unsolicited takeover offer that was quickly topped by Shandong Gold.

The Moscow-based company became at the time Cardinal’s largest shareholder, with a 19.9% voting power. It sits now at just over 28%. Shandong holds about 11.9%.

Seven months of competing offers went by until Shandong came up in September with what seemed a winning offer. The A$1-per-share bid valued the company at A$538 million (about $381 million).

Nordgold matched in October the Chinese miner’s bid, adding it was its “final and best offer”. It also took Cardinal to Australia’s Takeovers Panel accusing it of misleading shareholders.

Cardinal’s board, which has openly shown its preference for the Chinese bidder, once again told shareholders that accepting Shandong’s offer was the “only realistic way in which the auction will be re-enlivened.”

Nordgold, controlled by Russian oligarch and steel billionaire Alexey Mordashov, told the Takeovers Panel that Cardinal’s statement was “materially misleading” as it suggested that a higher offer from Shandong could be unlocked.

Cardinal was then forced to clarify that while Shandong may have an option to increase its final offer, it was not a given.

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