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Consortium likely to raise bid for KAZ Minerals -sources

LONDON, Feb 2 (Reuters) - The consortium bidding to take copper miner KAZ Minerals private is expected to increase its offer by around 10-15% but is unlikely to get minority shareholders on board, sources close to the matter said.

The group led by KAZ chairman Oleg Novachuk made a 1.8 billion pound ($2.46 billion) all-cash offer in October for the 61% of the mining company’s shares it doesn’t already own. The offer was rejected by some minority shareholders who said it undervalued the company.

The proposed deal would value KAZ Minerals at about 3 billion pounds.

The London-listed Kazakh company will give an update on the offer by Feb. 4 and three sources said it will be increased, but not by a big margin.

KAZ Minerals declined to comment.

The company’s share price, only 12% below the 640 pence offer at the time it was made, has now risen by 120 pence to about 760 pence, buoyed by higher copper prices on hopes of a global economic recovery as COVID-19 vaccine programmes gather pace.

Copper is in high demand for use in renewable energy and electric vehicles, but new deposits are rare and increasingly difficult to recover.

KAZ Minerals’ fifth and seventh-biggest investors, RWC Partners and Russia-based CFC Management have previously said they would vote against the offer.

In an open letter to the company in January, RWC Partners asked for the takeover process to be halted to protect the interests of minority shareholders.

RWC Partners, which runs $9 billion of assets in emerging and frontier markets, did not respond to a request for comment.

“A revision up to 8 pounds will not make the price attractive,” another minority shareholder said.

KAZ Minerals bought the Baimskaya copper mine in eastern Russia in 2018 from a group of investors including Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich.

The company’s share price plunged immediately after announcement of its acquisition of Baimskaya, hit by investor concern over Russian political risk, even though the mine is regarded as one of the world’s most significant underdeveloped copper prospects. ($1 = 0.7329 pounds) (Reporting by Clara Denina Editing by David Goodman)

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