Pay dirt: BHP set to swallow South Australian mining star

OZ Minerals shareholders delivered a resounding ‘yes’ vote this morning in favour of selling the successful South Australian company to global mining giant BHP for $9.6 billion.

Apr 13, 2023, updated Apr 13, 2023

OZ Minerals managing director and chief executive officer Andrew Cole is likely to be paid about “$6 million cash in relation to his entitlements under OZ Minerals’ incentive plans”, chair Rebecca McGrath said before the vote, while shareholders will net $28.25 a share.

The copper and gold company moved its head office to Adelaide from Melbourne in 2015 with the help of a $10 million grant from the SA Government. It now employs about 660 South Australians and is listed at number two behind Santos in InDaily’s South Australian Business Index with revenue exceeding $900 million.

A State Government spokeswoman has previously assured there is no requirement for the taxpayer funds committed to the move to be repaid as “Oz Minerals has fulfilled its obligations under the grant to move its headquarters to Adelaide”.

Some 98.33 per cent of votes were in favour of the takeover offer with 88.34 per cent of shareholders present and voting. The final regulatory hurdle will be from the Federal Court of Australia, which is slated to rule on the deal next Monday, April 17. If the deal is approved as expected, Oz Minerals shares will be suspended on April 18.

BHP is now set to control the company’s famed copper and gold mines at Prominent Hill and Carrapateena in the state’s north along with its high-potential West Musgrave copper and nickel project in Western Australia.

OZ Minerals is the second top-performing SA company to fall under the hammer this month following the Shahin family selling its high-profile service station OTR group to a Melbourne company for $1.15 billion last week.

OZ Minerals’ has more than 43,000 shareholders who could cast their crucial votes at the company head office at Adelaide Airport this morning.

BHP has been circling the copper and gold miner since early last year when its first $8.4 billion bid to take over OZ Minerals was swiftly rejected by its board.

OZ Minerals Carrapateena mine in SA. Photo: OZ Minerals

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This time, the board urged a yes vote.

In a joint statement to the ASX, McGrath and Cole said: “Today’s strong endorsement from our shareholders enables the next chapter for OZ Minerals as, pending endorsement of the court, we will become part of a major global mining company which values our strategy of creating value for stakeholders, enabled by our agile culture of inclusion, innovation and collaboration, as well as our portfolio of modern minerals operating assets and our pipeline of growth opportunities.”

Shareholders will get A$26.50 cash from BHP and a A$1.75 special dividend paid to Oz Minerals investors.

Clearance for the sale has been given by the Brazilian competition regulator in relation to OZ Minerals’ Santa Lúcia iron oxide copper-gold mineral deposit, the Antas copper-gold mine, and CentroGold, one of the largest undeveloped gold projects in Brazil.

BHP CEO Mike Henry welcomed the vote outcome.

“This is a strong endorsement from OZ Minerals shareholders on the value they will receive under the scheme and the hard work of the OZ Minerals team over many years to create a successful business. We look forward to bringing together our talent and resources to create an even stronger organisation,” he said.


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