By Mark McSherry
Shareholders in troubled Scarborough-based Sirius Minerals have reluctantly voted for Anglo American’s takeover offer of the company.
The vote on Tuesday paves the way for continued development of Sirius’ controversial giant fertilizer mine in North Yorkshire.
Global mining giant Anglo American agreed in January to buy Sirius Minerals for £404.9 million in cash.
Sirius shareholders will receive 5.5p per share in cash, a 34.1% premium to the closing price on January 7, the day before Anglo American said it was in talks to buy the fertilizer company.
However, thousands of small Sirius shareholders stand to lose their savings after buying shares in Sirius for 20p or more.
Sirius shares traded as high as 45p in 2016.
The deal had to be approved 75% of Sirius shareholders at a general meeting on Tuesday. About 62% of shareholders who voted agreed on the deal — representing about 80% of the shares.
In a statement late on Tuesday, Sirius said: “Sirius hereby announces that at the Court Meeting and the General Meeting held earlier today in connection with the Scheme all resolutions proposed … were passed by the requisite majorities and, accordingly, the scheme was approved ..
“At the Court Meeting, a majority in number of the Scheme Shareholders who voted (either in person or by proxy) and who together represented over 75 per cent. in value of the Scheme Shares held by those Scheme Shareholders, approved the scheme.”
Sirius chairman Russell Scrimshaw said: “The positive outcome from today’s meeting secures a return for shareholders, and provides greater certainty in terms of safeguarding the project, protecting the jobs of our employees, and allowing the community, region and the UK to continue to benefit from the project.”
Henry Steel, a portfolio manager at Odey Asset Management, which built up a 1.4% stake in Sirius, told The Financial Times a bidding war could now start for Sirius.
Steel said: “Now comes the fun part where we wait and see if Cantopex (a group of Canadian potash producers) or the Belarusians turn up to take control of this project.
“We could end up in a bidding war.”