MEIKLES Limited’s bid to swoop on Mwana Africa Plc’s gold mining cash cow Freda Rebecca hit a brick wall after one of the group’s major shareholders who was approached with an unsolicited offer spurned the gesture. Sources privy to developments said among Meikles Limited’s newly formed mining subsidiary Meikles Centar Mining’s targets was Mwana Africa’s Bindura- based gold mining subsidiary, Freda Rebecca.
“They tried to negotiate with some of the major Chinese shareholders of the group about the acquisition of Freda Rebecca, but were turned down.”
However, Meikles Limited this week vehemently refuted ever giving Meikles Centar Mining authority to make any moves for Freda Rebecca.
“The board of Meikles Limited has not authorised Meikles Centar Mining, a subsidiary of Meikles Limited, to make any offer to Freda Rebecca Mine,” Meikles Limited said in response to e-mailed questions.
Efforts to get a comment from Mwana Africa were fruitless by the time of going to print yesterday. Mwana is listed on London’s second tier exchange, AIM.
Meikles Centar, a joint venture between Meikles Limited and Centar Asia Resources, was reportedly looking at acquiring gold and diamond mining assets in the country’s mining sector and had even toured various mining assets in the country with a view to acquiring them.
Meikles Centar Mining allegedly took advantage of its London links to make the bid for Freda Rebecca since one of the Centar Asia Resources founding directors was a high profile executive with a top UK bank
Some of the developed mines it was allegedly eyeing included Caledonia Mining, New Dawn, African Consolidated Resources and Mwana Africa with a view to acquiring their gold, nickel and diamonds assets.
While it was public record that Meikles Centar Mining was targeting a number of established mines in Zimbabwe it was allegedly the manner they went about trying to snap up Freda Rebecca that raised eye brows.
The nascent mining entity reportedly approached a number of major shareholders in Mwana Africa that include UK bank 9,1 percent shareholder HSBC Nominees and China International Mining Group Corporation. Having allegedly made progress on some of the significant shareholders things came to a head after the overtures were turned down by CIMGC and other shareholders who were never sounded out.
After directors at Mwana allegedly discovered the secretive overtures by Meikles Centar Mining an arrangement was made for CIMGC to up its stake into a major shareholder in the group, a situation that made it difficult for suitors to make further surreptitious offers.
Sources said had CIMGC swallowed the bait the situation could have become complicated for other significant shareholders in Mwana Africa that were not approached and were not interested in the offer.
Centar Asia Resources was founded in June 2011 by Meikles Centar Mining director Ian Hannam, an ex-JP Morgan staffer fined by Financial Services Authority over allegations of market abuse and irregular share dealings in shares of London Stock Exchange-listed firms earlier this year and forced to step down from JP Morgan bank. Hannam holds 45 percent of Centar and has a number of other investors who collectively control close to 30 percent of Mwana Africa and have close links to Centar. Jan Kulczyk’s Kulczyk Investments, owns 28 percent of Centar with him as chairperson.
Another director, Richard Williams, who has been in and out of the Asian country touring various mining assets with a view to helping raise funding, acquire and add value to the mining companies the UK-based firm had identified, is a former high ranking British military officer. Mr Williams served with UK’s Special Forces, the 7th Armoured Brigade (as the Brigade Chief of Staff), the paratroopers, infantry, and on the Directing Staff of the Joint Services Command and Staff College.
Concerns were also raised about other directors who allegedly served in the Rhodesian army and the infamous Selous Scouts, raising fears among the mining industry executives at most of the companies Centar had approached.