Sirius Minerals takeover: We intend to generate jobs, says Anglo American boss, adding 'I understand the disappointment of shareholders'

The boss of mining giant Anglo American says he understands the disappointment of Sirius Minerals shareholders.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 2:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 3:41 pm
Mark Cutifani

Mark Cutifani is chief executive of the global mining company which has tabled an offer for the troubled Scarborough-based company which is aiming to mine polyhalite, for use in the production of fertiliser, from its site at Sneaton, near Whitby.

The £404.9million takeover offer, being recommended by the Sirius board, would mean Sirius shareholders receiving 5.5p per share.

Agreement reached on Sirius deal - shareholders urged to back itAt their height Sirius shares were valued at 45p. Some 85,000 private investors own Sirius shares; it is thought around 12,000 live within a few miles of the company's Woodsmith mine near Whitby.

Mr Curifani told The Yorkshire Post: “I have had direct contact from shareholders.

“I understand the disappointment in terms of the price.

"There are obviously a lot of shareholders that have bought in at a lower price but many of the employees at Sirius are shareholders.

'Sirius Minerals ticks all our boxes'“In talking to people across the business I explained our understanding and concern but at the same time we have had to put on the table the best offer we could that reflects the risk and we have made that very clear."

He said the support he had seen in the North Yorkshire community for the Sirius scheme was “unlike anything I have ever seen”.

He said that Sirius was home to “lots of very smart and skilled people” and that Anglo intended to generate jobs.

“Yes we are a big global company but we are very proud of the fact that we try to keep our operations local,” he said.

“We will try and make sure we are a partner of the community, behave in the right way and be part of the future of Yorkshire. That’s very important to us.”

He added: “The board of Sirius has pointed out that they think this is the best offer they are going to see.

“We think we have done our best with the offer we have put on the table and we are hopeful that people will see the long-term benefits we can bring to the project.”

If shareholders agree to the Anglo American offer it will mean that Sirius represents circa 7 to 8 per cent of its total business.

Mr Cutifani said that the products it aims to produce would “move the dial” for Anglo American.

Unlike most fertilisers, polyhalite is cleared for use in the growing of organic food. Anglo currently operates in vast markets such as Brazil and China, with Mr Cutifani saying that it plays into the direction that agriculture needs to go in the future to meet climate change targets.

“It is a very clean product and it has a very low carbon footprint,” he said.