Swiss gold refiner Valcambi offers $16 million for Republic Metals Corp: source

FILE PHOTO: An employee places a gold Combibar into a press machine at a plant of gold refiner and bar manufacturer Valcambi SA in the southern Swiss town of Balerna December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer

LONDON (Reuters) - Swiss precious metals refiner Valcambi has made a $16 million offer to buy the assets of Miami-based rival Republic Metals Corporation (RMC), which filed for bankruptcy last year, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The source said the New York bankruptcy court hearing the case had accepted the offer as a stalking horse bid, implying that any other bids that come in must be higher than Valcambi’s.

A judge’s clerk confirmed there had been a hearing on Wednesday but could not give any further information. RMC referred a request for comment to its lawyers, who did not immediately respond. A Valcambi spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Valcambi is Switzerland’s biggest gold refiner. It said in October it had reached an understanding to acquire RMC subject to the completion of due diligence.

That deal fell through after RMC, one of the largest U.S. refineries, filed for bankruptcy days later, on Nov. 2.

Reporting by Peter Hobson; Editing by Jan Harvey