FIFI PETERS: In a surprising turn of events, Northam Platinum today announced a deal to secure a 33% stake in Royal Bafokeng Holdings, essentially knocking Impala Platinum out of the race, which had announced two weeks ago that it had its eyes on the mine to buy it. – that, if that agreement had been successful, it could have caused Royal Bafokeng to be removed from the JSE list.
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Well, that has not happened. To talk about what has happened in terms of the latest developments around the deal, Royal Bafokeng Holdings CEO Albertinah Kekana. Albertinah, thank you very much for your time. A lot has changed in a short time, but just tell us about the old deal: Impala. What was the reason for rejecting it?
ALBERTINAH KEKANA: Good evening to you and good evening to the listeners. We manage funds essentially for the benefit of our shareholders, the Royal Bafokeng Nation, RBN. In first evaluating our investment in RBH and how to optimize value, we basically had three things we were looking for in an engagement with potential buyers.
One, we seek to maximize the value of an asset that we have been developing for more than 10 years. Second, it is obtaining an adequate level of cash that allows us to advance in our diversification strategy. Third and most importantly, it is to have high impact projects and initiatives for the benefit of the community.
So we engaged with Implats in this regard. Although they made us an offer that was initially attractive, Northam came up with a better offer. It was the decision of the board, being our shareholder, to accept Northam’s proposal.
FIFI PETERS: And when did Northam’s proposal enter the scene?
ALBERTINAH KEKANA: Well, it essentially played out over the last seven days, but there had been a pre-engagement before that.
FIFI PETERS: It’s okay. That earlier engagement, can you give us an indication of when it started?
ALBERTINAH KEKANA: I think I personally had a conversation with the CEO earlier in the year, where he had indicated that he might be interested. Then I think there were commitments at the company level as well, but those don’t really matter. The commitments that led to this transaction actually played out over the last seven days.
FIFI PETERS: What was the value of the Impala deal?
ALBERTINAH KEKANA: I’m afraid I can’t argue with that; I am under confidentiality regarding that.
FIFI PETERS: It’s okay. I’m sure you would have seen the short-term reactions in share prices to the announcement of the developments around this deal today. We were talking to a market commentator who said that perhaps one of the reasons for Royal Bafokeng’s share price drop today is the fact that this deal favored majority shareholders, and minority shareholders are not really going to get a share. portion of the cake. What is your opinion on that?
ALBERTINAH KEKANA: Our view is that there was a proposal for RBH and, as RBH’s board of directors, we had to commit to what was in the best interest of our shareholder. I’m sure Northam probably has his own opinions and thoughts on the way forward from here, but our primary mandate is to look out for the best interests of our shareholder.
FIFI PETERS: Well. And so what is the way forward for the Royal Bafokeng community? What does this deal mean to them?
ALBERTINAH KEKANA: Basically, this deal is something that should be viewed in the most positive light. We have a community that has put [effort for ] …… 4:34 the development of a significant mining operation over the past 10 years with little or no asset dividend. Now that the asset has grown and is fully producing, it provides an opportunity to optimize value.
The Bafokeng remain a long-term player in the platinum space, one of the toughest in the country, through our stake in Northam and our residual interest in Royal Bafokeng Plus. But this opportunity crystallizes value for the community, allowing you to further diversify the portfolio and build resilience in it. It also provides the opportunity to drive critical community initiatives, such as projects alleviating water scarcity and [give] water safety, [and] RBH has declared a dividend to provide the necessary funds.
In partnership with RBN and Northam, we will look at three key initiatives. One is renewable energy skills development, as well as business and procurement support in the mining value chain. So we believe this is a comprehensive and overall positive development for the community.
FIFI PETERS: What are the long-term prospects for this deal? Northam indicated the long-term potential to strengthen its stake in Royal Bafokeng, so to speak. Perhaps you could talk about the long-term thinking of your relationship with Northam Platinum?
ALBERTINAH KEKANA: I think what was also attractive about this proposal was that we were able to put the RB …… 6:45 in high quality, low concentrations, along with assets of similar quality, giving us a platform that allows longevity in our investment in platinum. space. Therefore, we consider ourselves a long-term strategic investor.
FIFI PETERS: All right, ma’am, we’ll leave it there for now. Thank you very much for your time and for joining us in discussing the thinking and reason why Royal Bafokeng decided to opt for Northam over Impala Platinum. That was Albertinah Kekana, CEO of Royal Bafokeng Holdings.