Alsons Power acquires 19.99 per cent of Indophil

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/05 January) — Filipino-owned Alsons Power Holding Corporations (AHPC) has acquired additional shares in the exploration company Indophil Resources NL, allowing it to nominate two board seats in the publicly-listed Australian mining exploration company.

AHPC is the power group holding company of Alsons Group owned by the Alcantara family.

In a press release, Indophil said AHPC is pouring in US$99.4 million (AUS$97.7M) in fresh investments to increase its stake in the company to 19.99 per cent.

Indophil owns 37.5 per cent of the Philippine-based Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) which holds the multi-billion dollar Tampakan Copper and Gold Project.

Xstrata Copper, a subsidiary of Xstrata Plc, controls the remaining 62.5 per cent of SMI.

Alsons Group earlier delivered its remaining 3.5 per cent stake at SMI to Indophil when the latter unsuccessfully tried to sell its minority stakes at SMI to Chinese mining giant Zijin Mining Group Limited.

This after Alsons Group also failed to acquire Indophil Resources at a premium price of AUS$1.20 per share after Xstrata Plc reportedly vetoed the proposed deal.

Xstrata Plc also owns 19.99 per cent of Indophil.

Last year, Xstrata announced it was increasing its capital exposure to SMI which forced Indophil Resources to seek investors that would infuse new capital in order to maintain its 37.5 per cent share in SMI.

“Indophil Resources NL (Indophil) has moved to strengthen its offshore strategic alliance by entering into a placement agreement to raise US$99.4m (A$97.7m) with Alsons Power Holdings Corp (APHC),” Indophil said in a statement.

The placement will be in two tranches that will be completed by February this year.

The first tranche includes the issuance of 66,666,667 shares to AHPC valued at ASU$30M at AUS$0.45 per share or a premium of 17 percent of the Indophil’s share value at the time of the agreement.

The rest of the shares 141,041,667 shares at A$0.48 per share to raise A$67.7m, representing a premium of 26% on the three-month VWAP will be issued in February or after the approval of the shareholders of Indophil.

AHPC has already named Nicasio Alcantara, former Petron chair, as one of its nominee to the board of directors of Indophil.

On December 29, Indophil announced it appointed Alcantara as a non-executive director of Indophil.

Indophil chief executive officer Richard Lauffman also announced it will seek additional listing in the Philippine Stock Exchange to generate more local investors and investment.

SMI is facing rough sailing as the provincial government of South Cotabato refuses to amend or recall an ordinance passed in 2010 which bans open pit mining in the province.

The main mine site of the Tampakan Copper and Gold Project is located in the remote mountain village of Tablu in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

Indophil earlier announced it was expecting the Philippine energy department to issue an environment clearance certificate (ECC) on December 15 last year but this did not materialize.

SMI is facing strong opposition from environment groups and the all the Catholic dioceses where it has ongoing exploration and community projects.

In addition, the communist-led New People’s Army has been attacking the mining company. (Edwin G. Espejo writes for