Palmary Raises Offer for Consolidated to $964 Million

Palmary Enterprises has upped its offer for Australian manganese miner Consolidated Minerals to A$1.08 billion ($964 million), in its latest bid to win a long-running takeover battle.

Palmary, controlled by Ukrainian billionaire Gennadiy Bogolyubov, lifted its bid to A$4.70 a share from A$4.50, looking to beat off a rival bid from investment group Pallinghurst Resources.

Consolidated's board had already recommended the previous Palmary bid.

On Tuesday, Pallinghurst withdrew a controversial top-up offer attached to its A$4.50 a share bid, which had been designed to match any competing bids, after Australia's Takeovers Panel ruled that it was likely to reduce competition in the sale process.

Palmary's offer has also been shrouded in controversy after a mystery 17.7 percent stake in Consolidated was tracked down to a Ukraine-based bank, some of which was being held on behalf of Palmary.

Under Australian securities regulations, shareholdings of 5 percent or more must be publicly disclosed by bidders.

Palmary has said it holds about 14 percent of Consolidated, and later said it had already disclosed the 2.76 million shares it held through ING Bank in Ukraine.

Control of Consolidated would give its buyer some 10 percent of the world's supply of manganese -- a key metal used in steel making at a time of growing world production of steel.