France’s Areva to exit Canadian gold miner La Mancha in $320m deal

French nuclear power group Areva SA (EPA:AREVA) said on Tuesday it had finalised the disposal of its holding in Canadian gold mining company La Mancha Resources Inc (TSE:LMA) in a deal that fetched some CAD315m (USD319.5m/EUR254.3m).

The 63% stake was taken by Weather II Investments, a business managed by Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris, which agreed last month to buy all shares of La Mancha. The company paid CAD3.50 per La Mancha share, or a premium of 55.6% to La Mancha’s closing on 12 July and 43.1% above the 20-day volume weighted average as of that day.

Areva expects to receive the proceeds from the divestment in the coming days. The money will go for further limiting the company’s debt and for funding its investments.

The sale of La Mancha’s stake is in line with Areva’s Action 2016 strategy, the French group noted.

When announcing the agreement with Weather II Investments in July, La Mancha’s president and CEO Dominique Delorme said the deal provided a significant premium to all shareholders and would allow La Mancha to continue developing its projects with partners in Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire and Australia.

The Canadian gold producer, which is active in Africa, Australia and Argentina, generated revenues of CAD184.7m and EBITDA of CAD83.8m last year, data by Areva shows.

France’s Credit Agricole still interested in selling stake in Spanish Bankinter

French banking group Credit Agricole SA (EPA:ACA) views the stake it owns in Spanish peer Bankinter SA (MCE:BKT) as non-strategic and it is still considering all options regarding a further sale of Bankinter shares, CEO Jean-Paul Chifflet told a news conference on Tuesday.

According to Chifflet, Credit Agricole has recently cut its stake in the Spanish bank below the 20% threshold, but has made no decision as to the rest of the Bankinter holding.

However, Chifflet added that the Bankinter stake is among several non-strategic foreign investments that his bank plans to lower.

In an interview published by French newspaper Les Echos in December 2011, Credit Agricole’s chief executive said his company remained open to all options regarding its Bankinter interest. The stake the French bank holds in Portuguese lender Banco Espirito Santo SA (ELI:BES) was also mentioned by Chifflet as a potential target for sale.

Bankinter is the parent of domestic financial group Grupo Bankinter, which also includes financial firms Bankinter Gestion de Activos SGIIC, Bankinter Seguros Generales SA de Seguros y Reaseguros, Hispamarket SA, Intermobiliaria SA, Bankinter Consumer Finance EFC SA, Bankinter Capital Riesgo SGECR SA, Bankinter Sociedad de Financiacion SA and Relanza Gestion SA.

As of 31 December 2011, the bank’s main shareholder was Madrid-based Cartival SA with a stake of 23.91%.

China to decide on Glencore’s acquisition of Canada’s Viterra next month

Canadian grain handler Viterra Inc (TSE:VT) said the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) will continue into September with the review of its planned CAD6.1bn (USD6.2bn/EUR4.9bn) combination with Swiss commodities trader Glencore International Plc (LON:GLEN).

The clearance by the MOFCOM is the sole remaining regulatory nod needed to wrap up Glencore’s acquisition of Viterra, the Canadian firm said. Glencore is cooperating with the Chinese ministry to secure its approval as soon as possible.

The buyer initially expected to complete the deal in Viterra’s fiscal third quarter, it has said.

Glencore agreed on 20 March to buy Viterra at CAD16.25 a share, saying it would use existing cash and debt to finance the deal which would serve its goal of becoming a top global player in grain and oilseeds markets.

The deal provides Glencore with a strategic platform for growth in Canada, while boosting its operations in Australia and allowing it opportunities to expand in fast-developing global markets, the buyer has said.

In an earlier comment, Chris Mahoney, director of Glencore’s Agricultural Products division, said the takeover reflected the Swiss group’s belief in the potential of the Canadian and Australian grain markets and the benefits for farmers and customers in the two countries, as well as others.

Viterra has operations in Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand and China, as well as offices in Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Switzerland, Italy, Ukraine, Germany, Spain and India.