Why I’d buy Lonmin plc after Sibanye Gold Ltd’s takeover offer

Sibanye Gold Ltd’s offer for Lonmin plc (LON: LMI) could produce some attractive returns for investors.

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

When investing, your capital is at risk. The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you put in.

Read More

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, any form of personal advice. Investments in a currency other than sterling are exposed to currency exchange risk. Currency exchange rates are constantly changing, which may affect the value of the investment in sterling terms. You could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, and may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection as in the UK.

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More.

It looks as if struggling platinum miner Lonmin (LSE: LMI) has reached the end of its life as an independent company. After years of struggling with low platinum prices, workforce unarrest and high costs at its deep mines, this morning it was announced that the managements of Sibanye Gold Limited and Lonmin have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended all-share merger. 

Sibanye Gold, which is trading under the name Sibanye-Stillwater, is offering 0.967 new Sibanye-Stillwater shares for each Lonmin share. Based on the 30 trading day volume weighted average price of Sibanye shares, the offer values each Lonmin share at 100p for a total value of £285m (according to this morning’s press release). 

Commenting on the proposed merger, Ben Magara, Lonmin’s CEO said: “The combination with Sibanye-Stillwater provides a stronger platform for Lonmin Shareholders and other stakeholders to benefit from the long-term upside potential of an enlarged Sibanye-Stillwater group with greater geographical and commodity diversification.

Time to buy? 

Even though shares in Lonmin have jumped by around 20% this morning after the announcement, I believe that there could be an interesting opportunity for investors. 

It has been hamstrung in recent years by a weak balance sheet and lack of scale. Indeed, the company has raised about $1.7bn from shareholders in the past eight years, and profits have collapsed as management has struggled to restructure the business. Meanwhile, Sibanye has been busy buying up platinum mines. 

In 2015, Sibanye agreed to buy Aquarius Platinum Ltd then it gobbled up some high-cost platinum mines from Anglo American Platinum Ltd. A year later, the acquisition of Stillwater, the only palladium and platinum producer in the US was announced. These deals have left it with high levels of debt, but they’ve allowed the group to achieve scale in the platinum business, something the acquired entities never had. 

This is why I’m positive on the deal. Not only are the shares still trading at a discount to the offer price, but investors who buy-in will end up owning a stake in what will become the world’s most dominant platinum miner. 

What could go wrong?

Even though the outlook for the enlarged group seems attractive, this might not be the best opportunity for all investors. As Lonmin has shown over the past few decades, platinum mining is not a risk-free business and there’s plenty that could go wrong. For example, Sibanye’s high level of debt has forced the group to cancel its dividend payout. 

Still, the merged entity will have scale on its side, which should allow it to succeed where others have failed. 

So overall, if you’re looking for an attractive play on the price of platinum, buying Lonmin ahead of the merger might be a good idea (or hold on if you’re already invested). On the other hand, if turned off by the risks of platinum mining, it might be better to take the cash and run.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Rupert Hargreaves does not own any stock mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

More on Investing Articles

Middle-aged Caucasian woman deep in thought while looking out of the window
Investing Articles

Is BT Group one of the FTSE 100’s greatest value shares?

BT's share price looks like a bargain when you look at the P/E ratio and dividend yield. Is it one…

Read more »

Frustrated young white male looking disconsolate while sat on his sofa holding a beer
Investing Articles

The National Grid share price just plunged another 10%. Time to buy?

The National Grid share price is one of the FTSE 100's most stable, and nothing much happens to it? Well,…

Read more »

Young Black woman looking concerned while in front of her laptop
Investing Articles

Up 15% in 3 months, but I still won’t touch Vodafone shares with a bargepole

Harvey Jones has been shunning Vodafone shares for years. The FTSE 100 stock is finally showing signs of life, but…

Read more »

Growth Shares

This UK stock could be like buying Nvidia in 2021

Jon Smith thinks he's missed the boat with Nvidia shares, but flags up a UK stock that has some very…

Read more »

Businesswoman calculating finances in an office
Investing Articles

The FTSE 100’s Intertek delivers a bullish update — can the share price soar?

I’d describe Intertek as a quality business with a decent dividend income, but will the share price shoot the lights…

Read more »

Market Movers

Up another 10% yesterday, how high can the Nvidia share price go?

Jon Smith talks through the latest results but flags up why further gains could be harder to come by for…

Read more »

Investing For Beginners

Down 43% in a year, I think this value stock is primed for a comeback

Jon Smith flags up why a FTSE 250 share has fallen so much in the recent past, but explains why…

Read more »

Young woman working at modern office. Technical price graph and indicator, red and green candlestick chart and stock trading computer screen background.
Investing Articles

Nvidia stock is stupidly expensive. Or is it?

Nvidia stock's up over 2,000% in the past five years. Christopher Ruane explains why it could be wildly overvalued --…

Read more »