Exclusive: First Quantum hires Jefferies to sell nickel assets – sources – by Euan Rocha and Freya Berry (Reuters U.S. – November 5, 2015)

http://www.reuters.com/

TORONTO/LONDON – First Quantum Minerals has retained Jefferies to explore a sale of its two nickel mines as the Canadian base metal miner looks to trim debt levels and double down on its bets in copper, three sources familiar with the matter said

The sources, who declined to be named as details of the plan are not public, said the move to sell the assets would help the company achieve its goal of reducing its debt levels by over $1 billion.

A spokeswoman for First Quantum declined to comment on the plan. A spokeswoman for Jefferies was not immediately reachable.

Two of the sources said the assets on the block are Kevitsa, a nickel-copper-platinum mine in Finland and Ravensthorpe, a nickel mine located in Western Australia that the company bought back in 2010.

In a recent note, Cormark Securities analyst Alec Meikle had pegged the net asset values of Kevitsa and Ravensthorpe at $840 million and $372 million, respectively.

The three sources said that a data room is currently being set up and first round bids for the assets are expected by next month. The process is likely to be concluded in the first quarter of 2016.

One of the sources stated the company may consider retaining an interest in Ravensthorpe, but a decision on that would depend on the bids tendered.

The three sources said the sale process is likely to attract the interest of rivals like Lundin Mining, Royal Nickel Corp, Anglo American PLC, Boliden and other private equity backed players in the sector.

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