October 7, 2013 / 7:04 PM / 6 years ago

Mining businessman to buy stake in Singapore's Blumont, become chairman

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Mining businessman Alexander Molyneux will acquire a 7.8 percent stake in Blumont Group Ltd (BLUM.SI) and become its chairman, the Singapore-listed diversified holding company said on Monday.

Molyneux agreed to buy 95 million Blumont shares from Neo Kim Hock, the company’s executive chairman, and 40 million from an unnamed individual investor, Blumont said in a stock exchange filing.

The 135 million shares represent 7.83 percent of Blumont’s total issued shares on Monday and will be around 5.22 percent of the company’s enlarged share capital after the completion of a planned rights issue.

The move came after shares in Blumont, as well as investment firm Asiasons Capital Ltd ASNS.SI and gold miner LionGold Corp Ltd (LION.SI), resumed a steep decline following the lifting of their trading suspensions on Monday. The firms all have interests in resources and links to each other.

The Singapore Exchange imposed the suspension on Friday, a rare move by the bourse and market regulator, saying investors may not be fully informed of the firms’ affairs.

Molyneux, however, said he believes Blumont is on a growth path to be a diversified natural resources company in Asia and now is the right time to step in.

Asiasons is LionGold’s biggest shareholder with an 8.7 percent stake as of August 30, according to Thomson Reuters data. Blumont and LionGold have a non-executive independent director in common.

With Monday’s steep drop, the three companies had shed up to S$8.7 billion ($7 billion) in combined market value in just two trading sessions. The companies had seen a strong runup in their share prices this year, with analysts saying the surge did not seem to be backed by business fundamentals.

Hong Kong-based Molyneux is chairman of two companies in which Blumont has invested - uranium firm Azarga Resources Ltd and Celsius Coal Ltd (CLA.AX), a coking coal development company with assets in Kyrgyz Republic.

The indicative purchase price will be S$0.40 per share, subject to price adjustments, and the acquisition is expected to be completed by November 6. Blumont was last traded at S$0.13.

Molyneux will become Blumont’s chairman upon the completion of the share purchase. Neo, the current chairman, will become deputy chairman and non-executive director.

In July, Blumont proposed a rights issue of up to 861 million new shares at S$0.05 each, on the basis of one rights share for every two ordinary shares.

The company said at the time it planned to use 80 percent of the net proceeds from the rights issue to fund its business expansion, such as through acquisitions and investments. The rest will be for working capital.

Blumont said on Monday that it had agreed to provide a loan facility of up to $8 million in principal amount to Australia-listed coal firm Cokal Ltd (CKA.AX).

Reporting by Eveline Danubrata; editing by David Evans

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