Pallinghurst’s Jupiter share grab raises prospect of a takeover play

May 25, 2008

May 25 (The Australian Business) – Australia has come storming on to the register of iron ore junior Jupiter Mines, taking a 16.73 per cent stake in the company in conjunction with London-based Red Rock Resources.

In a series of transactions beginning on May 15, Pallinghurst has picked up 10.9 million shares in Jupiter, which is about to begin drilling at its Central Yilgarn iron project in outback Western Australia.

Red Rock, which also has a suite of iron projects in the region as well as a grass roots manganese asset in Zambia, is listed as having 14.9 million shares in Jupiter. Red Rock became a shareholder in Jupiter 12 months ago when it sold two of its Mt Hope and Mt Ida projects to Jupiter for 4.6 million shares in a deal which also included a 1.5 per cent production royalty and $250,000 in cash.

Red Rock chairman Andrew Bell was given a non-executive board seat at Jupiter on May 19.

Mr Bell said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange that by increasing Red Rock’s stake in Jupiter, it was enhancing the company’s strategy of promoting consolidation of iron ore interests in the WA Yilgarn region.

Pallinghurst Australia, a subsidiary of private equity group Pallinghurst Resources, which is run by former BHP Billiton chief executive Brian Gilbertson, missed out on acquiring Consolidated Minerals last year when it pulled out of the hotly contested $1.15 billion race for the company with Ukrainian-based Palmary Enterprises.

Jupiter too has had its fare share of headlines in the last 12 months after former directors David Evans and Jeremy Snaith were embroiled in controversy over an alleged drunken episode in the first-class cabin aboard an Etihad Airways flight in April last year.

Jupiter Mines chief executive Greg Durack said he welcomed the move by Pallinghurst Australia but had not had any discussions with the company.

Neither Mr Durack nor company chief financial officer Rob Benussi said that they were aware the stake represented part of a broader picture for a takeover play for Jupiter. “What I do know of Pallinghurst suggests this is a good move for our company,” Mr Durack said.

“I guess they see value in Jupiter and they add weight to the company.”

Jupiter will soon begin a 13,000m drilling campaign at its Central Yilgarn project, focusing on the Mt Mason and Mt Ida prospects. Mt Mason has a JORC resource of 2.2 million tonnes at 60.6 per cent iron. Jupiter’s shares are worth 34c each.

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