CITY WHISPERS: Miner SolGold is target for rich seam of rumour


CITY WHISPERS: Miner SolGold is target for a rich string of rumors – with one of these involving mining giant BHP

There are some takeover rumors that are practically always green, with chatter resurfacing when the market goes a bit quiet.

One involves mining giant BHP and private investor favorite SolGold, which is working on a copper and gold mine in Ecuador.

BHP first invested in SolGold in 2018 and has more than doubled its initial stake, making it one of its largest shareholders.

Digging deep: BHP first invested in SolGold in 2018 and has more than doubled its initial stake

The City rumor mill thinks a takeover of the South American miner could happen later this year – although this is the same mill that said it would happen in 2021 and 2022.

But some senior industry leaders think this misses the point, noting that it will be years before SolGold gets its pricing project off the ground. The long wait could be enough to put off any potential buyer.

One thing is certain. As long as BHP sits on its investment, the speculation will continue.

Britishvolt’s administrative process continues to rumble

The administration process for electric car start-up Britishvolt is rumbling on, weeks after a bailout deal valuing the company at £32m fell through.

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Potential bidders would have until Wednesday to submit bids to bail out the company, which has captured the imagination of politicians and the green tech industry with its plan to build a sprawling battery factory in Northumberland.

Whatever is signed, it will almost certainly price Britishvolt at a fraction of its £774 million valuation when it raised funds in February last year.

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But we hear Britishvolt pushed for an even higher value, around £1.5bn, during an autumn bid to raise money – just months before it went bankrupt. Yuck.

No deferred bonus at TSB

We recently reported that TSB would block a delayed bonus for former boss Paul Pester after he spearheaded a disastrous IT meltdown.

The failed upgrade left millions of customers unable to access their accounts for weeks — and earned the lender the unfortunate nickname of “Totally Shambolic Bank.”

And lo and behold, buried in the lender’s latest accounts is the line that, following the £48.7m fine imposed on the bank by city regulators, neither Pester – who left with a £1.7m payout – nor anyone else involved in the 2018 systems. snafu would get more money.

You first heard it here…

Shot in the arm for British mining

The UK’s fledgling – some would say flailing – mining industry got a shot in the arm when Galantas Gold picked up a gold project in Scotland. The AIM-listed group, which has so far focused on Northern Ireland, said it had bought exclusive rights from its owners to ferret around the beautiful Gairloch Estate in the Highlands. But it has done little to boost Galantas’ share price – which is lower than when the announcement was made and has fallen by a fifth so far this year.

Contributor: Patrick Tooher