- By Region
An investor in a business majority-controlled by another shareholder has embarked on a mystery tour.
With gold miner African Barrick, which has attracted bid interest from China, the trip has been far from magical. The shares fell roughly a third between flotation in 2010 and an announcement from 74 per cent stakeholder Barrick Gold of Canada that it is mulling a disposal.
Minorities can now only sit tight and hope that Barrick Gold will get a good price for the Tanzania-focused group, whose shares rose 9.5 per cent on Thursday morning to 431p.
It has been dogged by operational problems ranging from fuel theft to power cuts. An independent committee of African Barrick directors would consider any bid for the entire share capital by China Gold. But that would be a decorous irrelevance.
The shots will be called by Barrick Gold, whose new broom chief executive Jamie Sokalsky aims to raise cash returns to his own disgruntled shareholders.
He is responding to imperatives more urgent than any minorities hoping for African Barrick to stage a production-led economy. But given that the stock has been a useful contrary indicator for the gold price since the float, most shareholders would be relieved to be relieved of their investment.
Dmitry Kalachev of Canaccord Genuity envisages a take-out price as high as 535p per share. That would be in line with a sector average price equivalent to 0.87 times of net asset value, against an undisturbed ratio for African Barrick of 0.65 times. But without rival bids from the likes of Randgold, that could be optimistic.