May 11, 2011 / 5:36 AM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 2-CGNPC says studying whether to make fresh Kalahari bid

* Extract says activities continue after bid for parent dropped

* Extract shares cut losses after opening 10 pct lower

* Kalahari shares close lower in London on Tuesday (Recasts with CGNPC comment, changes dateline, adds analyst comment)

By Wan Xu and Michael Smith

BEIJING/SYDNEY, May 11 (Reuters) - State-owned China Guangdong Nuclear Power (CGNPC) is studying whether to come back in three months with a fresh bid for uranium miner Kalahari Minerals after withdrawing an offer following opposition from UK regulators.

“Our business department is studying it. We don’t have a result yet,” CGNPC spokesman Liu Kaixin told Reuters.

CGNPC on Tuesday withdrew its bid for Kalahari after Britain’s Takeover Panel said it would not allow the Chinese company to lower its 756 million pound ($1.2 billion) offer.

Shares in Kalahari and its 43 percent-owned Australian-listed Extract Resources fell on the decision, although some analysts said they expected CGNPC could return with a fresh offer in the next three to six months or bid directly for Extract.

“We think there is a reasonable chance CGNPC will make a new bid for Kalahari after 3-6 months have elapsed, or CGNPC may be more direct and make a bid for Extract,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Adam Schatzker said.

Shares in Extract, which owns the Husab uranium project in Namibia, potentially the second-largest uranium mine in the world, opened more than 10 percent lower in Sydney trade on Wednesday.

The stock later made up some ground and was down 3.5 percent at A$7.43 at 0457 GMT.


Extract said in a statement it was business as usual for the firm.

“Extract is continuing with its existing activities, which include the Husab Mine Optimisation and Resource Extension (M.O.R.E.) programme, exploration drilling and the ongoing partnership process to evaluate development options for the Husab Uranium Project,” the company said.

CGNPC must wait three months before returning with a revised bid under UK regulations.

State-owned CGNPC made an informal move on Kalahari in March — days before the Japanese earthquake — lured by access to one of the world’s biggest uranium deposits at a time when major powers are scrambling for alternative sources of power. [ID:nLDE7260VG]

But, in the light of uncertainties following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, both sides agreed last week to lower the initial 290 pence per share offer to 270 pence. [ID:nLDE74225U]

Britain’s Takeover Panel, however, said it would not allow CGNPC to turn a higher, informal offer, into a lower, formal bid. The panel’s hearings committee upheld that ruling on Tuesday.

After the market close, CGNPC said that following the panel’s ruling, it no longer wished to make an offer on the terms announced in March.

Kalahari’s shares closed down 0.9 percent at 226 pence in London on Tuesday. ($1 = 0.609 British Pounds) (Additional reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne; Editing by Ed Davies and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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