Top shareholder of Australia's Panoramic rejects 'opportunistic' IGO bid

FILE PHOTO: Mining analysts inspect a high grade nickel copper deposit at Independence Group's Nova nickel mine in Western Australia August 4, 2018. REUTERS/Melanie Burton

(Reuters) - Sydney-listed investment fund Zeta Resources Ltd ZER.AX on Friday said it did not intend to accept nickel miner Independence Group NL's (IGO) IGO.AX A$312 million ($214.6 million) takeover bid for Panoramic Resources Ltd PAN.AX.

Zeta Resources is managed by Bermuda-based hedge fund ICM Ltd, which holds a controlling 34.7% of Panoramic.

“The offer was unsolicited, and in the opinion of Zeta Resources, opportunistic,” the investment fund said in a statement.

On Monday, Perth-based IGO made an all-scrip bid for the 96.2% of shares in smaller peer Panoramic that it did not already own, offering a 42% premium over the stock’s Nov. 1 closing price.

“The statement from Zeta is not surprising, nor unexpected, but it is contrary to the response that we have received from all other major shareholders of Panoramic,” an IGO spokesman told Reuters.

IGO is looking to increase its exposure to nickel given demand for new-energy metals and an expected surge in demand for batteries for electric vehicles.

Panoramic’s share price closed up 1.2% on Friday at 43.5 cents. The stock has risen nearly 30% since IGO’s bid.

Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne; Editing by Stephen Coates and Christopher Cushing