ZFX zinifex limited

oxr zfx may be defensive manoever

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    Oxiana, Looking for Takeovers, Hasn't Been Approached With Bid

    By Luzi Ann Javier and Jesse Riseborough
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    Owen Hegarty, managing director and CEO of Oxiana

    June 6 (Bloomberg) -- Oxiana Ltd., the fastest-growing of Australia's five largest mining companies, said it hasn't been approached with any takeover offer and is looking for its own acquisitions.

    ``We're always on the lookout'' for acquisitions, Managing Director Owen Hegarty said today in an interview in Manila. He said Melbourne-based Oxiana, which has a market value of A$5.3 billion ($4.5 billion), hadn't been approached.

    Shares of Oxiana rose 6.1 percent this week on speculation the copper, zinc and gold producer may be the subject of bid from Xstrata Plc or Teck Cominco Ltd. Metal prices have risen for the past five years, spurring more than $79 billion of takeover bids in the mining and metals industry this year, up from $182 billion last year.

    ``There is definitely that element of Oxiana which would be appealing for a diversified company,'' said Jim Copland, a Sydney-based resources analyst with Macquarie Bank Ltd.

    Oxiana shares, which have gained 9.5 percent this year, fell 3 cents, or 0.9 percent, to A$3.47 on the Australian Stock Exchange at the 4:10 p.m. close in Sydney.

    Zug, Switzerland-based Xstrata, the world's fourth-largest copper producer, may be eyeing copper producers such as Oxiana, the Australian Financial Review reported today, without citing anyone. The Australian newspaper today cited Vancouver-based Teck Cominco, the world's largest zinc producer, as being interested in Oxiana.

    Xstrata, which pulled out of the bidding contest for LionOre Mining International Ltd. earlier this month, is looking to acquire assets with the capacity to produce between 150,000 to 300,000 metric tons of copper a year, Charlie Sartain, the chief executive officer of Xstrata's copper unit, said yesterday.

    `Fit the Bill'

    ``Oxiana will be producing in that range by 2009 so arguably they do fit the bill,'' said Macquarie's Copland.

    Teck may also be attracted to Oxiana's Prominent Hill project, which is located close to its Carrapeteena copper and gold project, the Australian said.

    Oxiana itself is interested in adding production of metals including copper, gold, lead, zinc and nickel and would consider buying companies that are ``about our size all the way from the smallest size,'' Hegarty said.

    Sales at Oxiana more than tripled in the six months ended Dec. 31 compared with growth of 20 percent for BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's largest mining company.

    To contact the reporters for this story: Luzi Ann Javier in Manila at [email protected] ; Jesse Riseborough in Melbourne at [email protected]
    Last Updated: June 6, 2007 03:15 EDT

    and then this:

    inifex Ltd., the world's third-biggest zinc producer, jumped 86 cents, or 4.5 percent, to A$20 after earlier trading at a record A$20.18. Oxiana Ltd. advanced 15 cents, or 4 percent, to A$3.89 after also trading at a record A$3.93.

    Oxiana Managing Director Owen Hegarty believes there would be synergies in a combination with Zinifex, once the zinc mining company sells its smelting assets, the Australian Financial Review reported.

    `On the Offensive'

    With the comments ``coming straight from the horse's mouth, that gave the market a bit of excitement,'' said Alfred Wong, who helps manage $16 billion at UOB Asset Management Ltd. in Singapore. ``Oxiana has always been quite vulnerable for a takeover, so what better way to create a defense then to get on the offensive.''
 
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