Edmonds quits gold firm after bid talks end

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The Independent Online

Central African Gold shares plunged more than 57 per cent to 10p yesterday after the exploration company revealed that takeover talks had ended.

Its chairman, the mining entrepreneur and former England cricketer Phil Edmonds, stepped down. Andrew Groves, his business partner, also quit as a director. Yesterday's fall was CAG's steepest since its shares began trading on the Alternative Investment Market in March 2004.

Trading was suspended on 25 April after the shares surged 38.2 per cent to 23.5p on speculation that the company was set to announce the acquisition of a working gold mine in Africa. Days after its nominated adviser, Grant Thornton, resigned, CAG confirmed it was in talks that may lead to a "reverse takeover". That came less than a week after CAG raised £9m through a placing.

Mssrs Edmonds and Groves specialise in deal-making in resource-rich but risky countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. This has led to scepticism within some quarters of the City about the quality of their assets. The pair have, however, delivered substantial paper profits to investors in at the ground level on their deals.