Top shareholder urges miner Centamin to seek takeover offer date extension

(Reuters) - Miner Centamin Plc CEY.L should extend a deadline for Canada's Endeavour Mining Corp EDV.TO to make a firm takeover offer, a top shareholder with both companies said on Thursday, increasing pressure on the London-listed miner to engage in talks.

Endeavour on Thursday said it had insufficient time before the current “put up or shut up” deadline of Dec. 31 to study Centamin’s assets and urged the company to ask a British takeover panel for an extension to Jan. 31, 2020.

Endeavour said it would only proceed if it can complete due diligence, including technical analysis and site visits.

“You have to be realistic. These are big, complicated projects. It takes a while to understand them, so I would hope that they would extend the deadline,” portfolio manager Joe Foster at VanEck International Investors told Reuters.

VanEck is the third- and second-biggest shareholder of Endeavour and Centamin, respectively, according to Refinitiv.

Centamin on Wednesday said that Endeavour would not share information vital to assessing its value until after an extension for making an offer is agreed. That followed a meeting by top managers in which the companies agreed to assess the feasibility of a merger.

Endeavour, whose business is focused on West Africa, is seeking to gain control of Centamin assets including the Sukari mine and Cleopatra project in Egypt, as well as exploration projects in West Africa.

Centamin earlier this month rejected a 1.47 billion pound ($1.89 billion) all-stock takeover proposal from Endeavour, saying it did not offer enough value to Centamin shareholders.

“I think some consolidation in the gold industry would be very beneficial to a lot of companies, and the first step is for companies to talk,” Foster said.

Reporting by Jeff Lewis; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall