Metals Exploration Backer offers To Take Company Private

(Reuters) – UK-based Metals Exploration’s (MTL.L) key shareholder offered to take it private for about 35.8 million pounds ($54.6 million) in cash, in a bid to control the mining firm’s gold and molybdenum project in Philippines.

The offer price of 13 pence for each share in the Western Pacific Rim-focused company represents a premium of about 27 percent to Metals Exploration’s Thursday close.

In a separate statement, Metals Exploration said it was reviewing the shareholder, Solomon Capital’s offer.

Property entrepreneur Christian Candy’s Solomon Capital already owns a 44 percent stake in Metals Exploration.

“Chris’ enthusiasm for the company is infectious, and it is largely through his continued support and commitment that we are able to approach future financing challenges,” Metals Exploration had said in May.

In the year to end-December, the company had no turnover but grew its net assets by 86 percent to 24.8 million pounds.

“Solomon intends to continue to work with the existing management team of Metals Exploration to secure appropriate funding for the development of a mine at the Runruno Project in the Philippines,” the shareholder said in a statement.

Metals Exploration, with net cash of 1.4 million pounds at the end of 2009, needs an estimated funding of $149.3 million to establish an open-pit mining operation at the site.

Shares of the company were up 24 percent to 12.75 pence at 0712 GMT on Friday on the London Stock Exchange. ($1=.6553 Pound) (Reporting by Aditi Samajpati in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy)