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Recommended Cash Acquisition for Sirius Minerals plc by Anglo American Projects UK limited

The boards of Anglo American plc, Anglo American Projects UK Limited ("Bidco") and Sirius Minerals Plc are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended cash acquisition pursuant to which Bidco shall acquire the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Sirius (the "Acquisition"). The Acquisition is intended to be effected by means of a scheme of arrangement under Part 26 of the Companies Act.

Under the terms of the Acquisition, Sirius Shareholders shall be entitled to receive for each Sirius Share 5.50 pence in cash.

The Offer Price represents a premium of approximately:

  • 34.1 per cent. to the Closing Price of 4.10 pence per Sirius Share on 7 January 2020 (being the last Business Day prior to the commencement of the Offer Period);
  • 46.5 per cent. to the volume-weighted average price of 3.75 pence per Sirius Share since Sirius' 17 September 2019 strategic review announcement to 7 January 2020 (being the last Business Day prior to the commencement of the Offer Period);
  • 53.4 per cent. to the one-month volume-weighted average price of 3.59 pence per Sirius Share to 7 January 2020 (being the last Business Day prior to the commencement of the Offer Period); and
  • 61.7 per cent. to the three-month volume-weighted average price of 3.40 pence per Sirius Share to 7 January 2020 (being the last Business Day prior to the commencement of the Offer Period).

The Acquisition values the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Sirius at approximately £404.9 million.

If, on or after the date of this announcement and on or prior to the Effective Date, any dividend, distribution or other return of value is declared, made or paid by Sirius on the Sirius Shares, the Offer Price shall be reduced correspondingly. In such circumstances, Sirius Shareholders would be entitled to retain any such dividend, distribution or other return of value declared, made or paid.

In September 2019, Sirius announced that it was undertaking a strategic review in order to assess the development plan for its North Yorkshire polyhalite project (the "Project") and an appropriate financing structure to provide relevant funding. Sirius also announced that the strategic review would include a broader process to seek a major strategic partner in the Project. In November 2019, Sirius provided an update on the progress of this strategic review, including a revised two-stage development plan.

Anglo American identified the Project as being of potential interest some time ago, given the quality of the underlying asset in terms of scale, resource life, operating cost profile and the nature and quality of its product. The Project has the potential to fit well with Anglo American's established strategy of focusing on world-class assets, particularly in the context of Anglo American's portfolio trajectory towards later cycle products that support a fast-growing global population and a cleaner, greener, more sustainable world. The key elements underlying the rationale include:

  • Asset quality: Anglo American believes that the Project has the potential to become a world-class, low-cost and long-life asset. Sirius has progressed the development of the Project to an advanced stage, with construction now under way for over two years. Sirius has indicated that this is currently the world's largest known high-grade polyhalite deposit with a JORC Reserve of 290 million tonnes, with a grade of 88.8%, and a Resource of 2.69 billion tonnes. The Resource indicated by Sirius has the scale, thickness and quality to be mined efficiently through a relatively simple, low-energy, non-chemical production process. Sirius has indicated that the Project could operate at an EBITDA margin potentially well in excess of 50% leaving the Project well positioned for strong through-the-cycle profitability with an anticipated long asset life.
  • Development pathway: At this stage, the Project requires a significant amount of further financing to develop and commission the operation that has proven challenging for Sirius to procure on an economic basis. Anglo American, as one of the world's leading mining companies, has the resources and capabilities to help build on the achievements of the Sirius team. Anglo American remains committed to its disciplined capital allocation framework. In the first two years after successful completion of the Acquisition, development work on the Project is expected to be broadly in line with Sirius' revised development plan although Anglo American intends to update the development timeline, optimise mine design and ensure appropriate integration with its own operating standards and practices. During this period and subject to the update, development work of approximately US$300 million per annum is expected. Anglo American believes that there is the potential for long-term benefits from Anglo American's technical expertise in both the development and operational phases, as well as from Anglo American's recognised Operating Model to drive safety and productivity to world-leading standards. Integration into Anglo American's global marketing network would provide full mine-to-market capabilities and build on Anglo American's institutional experience in the world's major fertiliser markets.
  • Premium product: Sirius' polyhalite product, POLY4, is a multi-nutrient fertiliser certified for organic use and has the potential to generate demand at a competitive cost that supports a strong margin. POLY4 is an attractive low-chloride alternative to, and for blending with, traditional fertiliser products on a cost-effective basis. It includes four of the six key nutrients that plants need to grow - potassium, sulphur, magnesium and calcium. The use of fertilisers is one of the most effective ways to improve agricultural yields and therefore help to address the anticipated future imbalance between food, feed and biofuel demand and supply caused by a fast-growing global population and limited additional land availability for agricultural use.

Source: Anglo American

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