MAC: Mines and Communities

Atlas Considers London Listing

Published by MAC on 2007-07-30
Source: Financial Times ()

Atlas considers London listing

By Roel Landingin in Manila, FT.com - http://www.ft.com/cms/s/db9540e4-3eb1-11dc-bfcf-0000779fd2ac.html

30th July 2007

Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp, the Philippine mining company that owns what was once the world’s third largest copper mine, will next month meet institutional investors in Europe as it eyes a secondary listing in London in 2008.

The move comes as Manila tries to attract investors to restart scores of idle mines abandoned because of debt and disasters.

Alfredo Ramos, chairman and Atlas’s biggest shareholder, said plans to list in London would cap the company’s efforts over the past 12 years to revive the Carmen copper mine in Cebu province, which ceased operations in 1994 after almost collapsing when a tailings dam caved in.

Mr Ramos bought Atlas’s debt in 2001 and converted that position into a majority shareholding. Last year, Crescent Asian Special Opportunities Portfolio, a private equity fund, invested $34m in an Atlas subsidiary rehabilitating the copper mine. In June, Deutsche Bank lent Atlas $100m for the effort, which is expected to be completed by next May and push 2008 profits up to 2bn-3bn pesos ($22m-$33m).

Atlas, which was losing money until 2004, expects profits to surge to 500m pesos this year when a nickel mining unit starts shipping ore to China.

Martin Buckingham, executive vice-president at Atlas, said money from the listing would help Atlas develop other copper ore bodies in Cebu, and ramp up production to as much as 150,000 tons a day from 20,000-40,000 tons initially. “That brings us in the category of a medium-sized producer. Our objective would be to get into the top five or 10 producers in the region.”

Last week, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Philippine’s president, stepped up efforts to offer as many as 65 idle mines to investors. Many of the mines were abandoned in the 1980s and 1990s.

On Friday, she said she had issued an order transferring supervision over the state-owned Philippine Mining Development Corp, which owns rights to many mines, to her office from the department of environment and natural resources. The move would allow the Office of the President to “monitor and oversee the efficient and effective implementation of the country’s utilisation and development of its mineral resources”.

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