Platinum miner Lonmin’s interim results on Monday will be among its most closely scrutinised as the market looks at its cash generation (if any), spending, debt levels and restructuring efforts, all of which will feed into a decision from Sibanye-Stillwater shareholders whether to proceed with a R5bn all-share bid for the company.
Analysts have mixed views about the likelihood of the success of the deal announced last December and which would essentially solve Lonmin’s problems at a stroke and make Sibanye one of the world’s top three platinum group metal suppliers. There is a long way to go before that happens, however.
Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman didn’t mince words at the company’s annual results presentation in February this year, warning Lonmin’s executives to not let the platinum miner slip into a “black hole” and to be cash positive by the time shareholders have to vote on the deal, because Sibanye’s shareholders could not be expected to take on more debt.
“We are downgrading Lonmin to a ‘sell’ due to the increasing risk that the merger with Sibanye falls apart and the subsequent difficulties it would face in securing a refinancing of its debt,” said Liberum analysts Ben Davis and Richard Knights.
“At the current rate of cash burn, Lonmin will be pushed into net debt before the year end, scuppering the proposed merger before it has a chance to complete,” they said.
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