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Pallinghurst Lifts Consolidated Bid

Reuters
Friday, 12 Oct 2007 | 4:10 AM ET

Pallinghurst Resources on Friday lifted its cash offer for Australian manganese miner Consolidated Minerals by 10% to A$1.03 billion ($928 million), matching a rival offer from Ukraine's Palmary Enterprises.

Pallinghurst increased its offer by 40 cents to A$4.50 a share, which is below where Consolidated's shares have been trading since Sept. 12.

Consolidated's board in September recommended a revised A$4.50 a share offer from Palmary, which is controlled by Ukrainian billionaire Gennadiy Bogolyubov, trumping Pallinghurst's then A$4.10 per share offer.

Palmary is Consolidated's largest shareholder.

Palmary and Pallinghurst, headed by former BHP Billiton chief Brian Gilbertson, are vying to get their hands on Consolidated's managanese deposits, which make up about 10% of the world's supply of the metal -- a key component in the steel making process.

A third bid by Territory Resources, offering cash and shares and headed by Consolidated's former managing director, is regarded as well out of the running.

Consolidated shares have more than doubled since Pallinghurst launched its first offer in February.

Pallinghurst also said it was revising a so-called "top up" condition in its bid, whereby Consolidated shareholders accepting its offer will receive additional cash to match any higher offer.

"The amount of the top up payment will reflect the difference between the highest all cash offer price under any higher Palmary offer and the highest cash component of the Pallinghurst offer," it said.

The offer is set to close Oct. 24, with Pallinghurst saying there would be no voluntary extension beyond then.

Consolidated's stock closed 0.2% down to A$4.79 in line with the overall market decline.