Grande Cache sale takes another step forward

THE federal green light has been given to a $C1 billion deal which will see Chinese supplier Winsway Coking Coal Holdings and Japanese firm Marubeni buy Canadian metallurgical coal producer Grande Cache Coal.
Grande Cache sale takes another step forward Grande Cache sale takes another step forward Grande Cache sale takes another step forward Grande Cache sale takes another step forward Grande Cache sale takes another step forward

Courtesy Winsway Coking Coal Holdings.

Donna Schmidt

The Canadian Minister of Industry, under the country’s Investment Canada Act, approved the transaction that “is likely to be of net benefit to Canada”

GCC is being acquired by 1629835 Alberta, a company developed by the joint venture buyers.

Last month, the company received the approval of both its shareholders and the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.

One more condition that must be satisfied before completion is the approval of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Subject to that hurdle, GCC said it anticipates the takeover will close on or about February 28.

Two weeks ago, both the buyer and seller denied claims Winsway had reported more imports than it actually handled.

The allegations came from unknown short seller Jonestown Research, which Winsway said in late January may not be a “reputable” outfit.

Chief financial officer Jerry Xie told investors the company has “disclosed exactly how many tons of coal” it purchased.

“Winsway is absolutely not a fraud. This report is dead wrong,” he said.

The Jonestown Research report was published on the web site InvestDoor, but no information on the authors or the origin was provided. The firm also does not appear to have an online presence.

GCC confirmed it had “no reason to believe” the claims made by the short seller had merit and said the purchase transaction would continue.

The Alberta-headquartered company first said in October that its cash takeover deal works out to $10 per common share, a 70% premium over the closing price on October 28 and a 112% premium over the 20-day volume weighted average trading price on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

“We believe the arrangement is a compelling transaction for Grande Cache Coal's shareholders and recognizes our highly attractive mining operation and the exceptional team that we have assembled at Grande Cache Coal,” president and chief executive officer Robert Stan said at the time.

“In addition, Marubeni has had a long standing business relationship with the corporation and has a 40-year history with the corporation's mine. Furthermore, Winsway is one of our main customers for the Chinese market.”

GCC holds coal leases covering more than 22,000 hectares with an estimated 346 million tonnes of coal resources in the Smoky River coalfield in Canada.

Its underground mining activity currently includes the No. 7 area and the No. 12 South B2 underground area.

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