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Trafigura exits Australia's Tiger Resources, no strategic buyers
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Commodities trader Trafigura has sold its 28 percent stake in Tiger Resources Ltd (TGS.AX) to institutional investors but no corporate buyer emerged to grab a strategic stake in the Australian miner with growing operations in central Africa's hot copper belt.
The shares were sold at 35 cents a share to Australian and offshore investors, a person familiar with the process said who declined to be identified as the pricing was confidential.
"That's a pretty hefty discount to its cashflow valuation," said PCF Securities analyst Travis Baroni, who values the stock at 67 cents a share, or A$451 million.
Baroni said general market jitters and worries about political stability in the Democratic Republic of Congo may have put off potential buyers, particularly as Tiger's Kipoi mine is 40 percent owned by DRC state-owned Gecamines.
Tiger had hoped to buy out Gecamines' stake this year, but those talks have been put on hold as the Australian firm focuses on its expansion plans, Tiger spokesman Nathan Ryan said.
The sale had been an opportunity for companies like China's MMG Ltd (1208.HK) to get a foot in the door at a firm with growth potential in a region that has spawned more than $10 billion in copper miner takeovers in the past two years.
MMG has said it is looking for acquisitions in the region following its $1.3 billion takeover earlier this year of Anvil Mining, whose Kinsevere copper mine is just 50 kilometers east of Tiger's Kipoi mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
MMG declined to comment on whether it looked at picking up any of Trafigura's shares.
"They're one of the players you would have expected to be involved," said PCF's Baroni.
Other companies with assets in the region include commodities trader Glencore International (GLEN.L) and China's Jinchuan Group.
Tiger's shares rose 2.9 percent to A$0.36 on Friday in a flat broader market .AXJO after the sale was completed.
Trafigura announced it would be exiting a week ago, appointing Canaccord Genuity to handle the sale of shares and warrants, which together amounted to 28 percent of Tiger's share base on a fully diluted basis.
(Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
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