(Adds Sibanye-Stillwater and Lonmin comment)
CAPE TOWN, May 17 (Reuters) - South Africa’s Competition Appeal Court gave the green light on Friday to Sibanye-Stillwater’s takeover of Lonmin that aims to create the world’s second-largest platinum producer.
Lonmin’s biggest mining union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), had filed an appeal trying to block the deal or have it re-examined to prevent job cuts after an earlier approval by the Competition Tribunal.
“The appeal fails,” Judge Dennis Davis said in his written judgement.
Sibanye can now implement the all-share deal that values Lonmin at 226 million pounds ($289 million) on the basis approved by the Competition Tribunal last November, said HB Senekal, a lawyer representing Sibanye who was in court.
AMCU’s case centred on layoffs, a sensitive issue in South Africa, where unemployment is at 27% according to latest data.
AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa could not be reached for comment.
“The combination creates a larger and more diversified company which we believe is in the best interest of Lonmin shareholders and other stakeholders,” Lonmin Chief Executive Ben Magara said in a statement.
Lonmin has been cutting thousands of jobs to reduce costs.
The ruling, a victory for Sibanye, will see investors in cash-strapped Lonmin exchange their shares for a roughly 11 percent stake in a more stable precious metal producer.
Shareholders are set to vote on the deal on May 28.
$1 = 0.7825 pounds Reporting by Wendell Roelf in Cape Town and Tanisha Heiberg in Johannesburg Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Edmund Blair