Gencor to raise $1bn through Billiton split

Magnus Grimond

Gencor, the South African mining giant, yesterday announced plans to spin off its non-precious metals interests in a $7bn group centred on the Billiton operations acquired from Shell two years ago for $1.2bn. The group, which plans to raise at least $1bn in an international share placing next month, will have its headquarters in London and qualify for entry to the FTSE 100 index as one of the UK's top 50 companies.

However, the current group's 27 per cent stake in the platinum interests controlled by Lonrho, the London-based mining and trading combine, will be retained by the rump of Gencor, which will remain based in South Africa.

Billiton, which will have 65 per cent of its assets in South Africa, will be one of the world's largest producers of aluminium, the leading producer of ferrochrome and the biggest exporter of steam coal. The new group is also expected to become the world's fourth-biggest producer of nickel following a deal announced yesterday by Gencor to merge its nickel interests with the Australian group QNI to form a new group capitalised at around $1.7bn.

Brian Gilbertson, who will stay on as Gencor's chairman temporarily, will become chairman and chief executive of the new group. He will be joined by Mick Davis, who will move from being Gencor's finance director to an executive director at Billiton. Yesterday he said the decision to split had been in gestation for two years: "We had planned an internationalisation of the group and it became clear if we were going to compete with the majors we had to have access to the international capital markets."

The $1bn or more being raised was around three to four times what Billiton could have raised in South Africa, he said.

The authorities had effectively lifted the country's tight exchange control regulations for the demerger, which has been cleared by the central bank, the South African Reserve Bank.

The group had some $3bn of potential projects at varying stages of realisation to spend the new money on.

These include the expansion of the Worsley alumina refinery in Western Australia and the Mozal aluminium smelter in Mozambique, both of which are expected to proceed later this year.

There were also "exciting opportunities for a mining company" in privatised ventures in South America, Mr Davis said.

Pro forma profits for the new group, which will start off with minimal gearing, would have been $698m in the nine months to March, compared with $921m for the previous 12 months.

Suggested Topics
Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football
News
news
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Melissa and Joan Rivers together at an NBC event in May 2014
peopleDaughter Melissa thanks fans for 'outpouring of support'
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
life
Life and Style
One in six drivers cannot identify a single one of the main components found under the bonnet of an average car
motoringOne in six drivers can't carry out basic under-bonnet checks
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
i100
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash
tvSimon Cowell blasts BBC for breaking 'gentlemen's agreement' in scheduling war
News
peopleWrestling veteran drifting in and out of consciousness
Arts and Entertainment
Shady character: Jon Hamm as sports agent JB Bernstein in Million Dollar Arm
filmReview: Jon Hamm finally finds the right role on the big screen in Million Dollar Arm
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Business Analyst,HR,Halifax,£400-450pd

£400 - £450 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Recruitment Consultants - IT - Trainee / Experienced

£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £40-50K first year: SThree: The SThree group i...

Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

Head of Marketing (Online & Offline, Media, Digital, Strategy)

£85000 - £100000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing - Slough, Berkshi...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone