June 24, 2020 / 10:45 AM / 18 days ago

China's Goldsea pulls plug on Alto Metals bid amid tougher Australian takeover rules

(Reuters) - China’s Goldsea Group said it will let a takeover bid by its unit for Australian gold miner Alto Metals (AME.AX) lapse after the country’s foreign investment board sought extra time to consider the deal as Australia tightens rules.

Goldsea Australia, the local unit of the Chinese miner, said late on Wednesday that the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) asked for six more months to consider the A$22 million ($15.20 million) takeover offer, but it declined.

Australia has been tightening rules around foreign investment, allowing the FIRB to screen all deals where a foreign investor buys an interest in a “sensitive national security business” regardless of the value of the deal.

Goldsea said the extension would have prolonged the FIRB decision to 10 months from Goldsea’s initial application in February.

Alto was not available for comment after regular business hours.

In May, Goldsea Australia raised its offer for Alto to A0.075 per share from A$0.065 that it offered in February after a competing proposal from Habrok (Alto) Pty Ltd.

Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru

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