7 December 2016
Zug, Switzerland: Pala Investments (“Pala”), an investment company focused on the mining and metals value chain, announces today the successful completion of the sale of its 53 percent interest in Sierra Rutile Limited (“Sierra Rutile”), the world’s largest producer of natural rutile, to Iluka Resources. The transaction valued Sierra Rutile at £215 million.
Since Pala first invested in Sierra Rutile in September 2010, Pala, in collaboration with Sierra Rutile’s employees, shareholders and other stakeholders, has been successful in implementing the following:
Strategic business plans: Formulation and execution of a strategic business plan which repositioned Sierra Rutile operations from a capital-intensive dredging operation, to a more flexible dry mining business focused on cash generation across the commodity cycle.
Investments and expansion projects: Focused investment in process optimisation and operational efficiency. Successful construction and commissioning of expansion projects, being the Lanti Dry Mine in 2013 and the Gangama Dry Mine in 2016.
Production growth: Since 2010, Sierra Rutile’s rutile production has increased from 68,000 tonnes per annum to a record run-rate production of 172,000 tonnes per annum in Q3 2016, with projects defined to further expand production to over 225,000 tonnes per annum.
Stakeholder relations: Re-establishment of a positive and cooperative relationship with the Government of Sierra Leone, including the full repayment of the Government of Sierra Leone loan. Enhanced the focus on community, including the implementation of environmental, infrastructure, educational and healthcare projects.
Commenting on the successful divestment of Pala’s interest in Sierra Rutile, Stephen Gill, Pala Portfolio Manager, said: “For Pala, this transaction represents the realisation of a successful investment in a niche minerals sector, and helps to ensure the ongoing growth of Sierra Rutile for the benefit of its stakeholders. We are proud of our contributions in the successful turnaround of Sierra Rutile’s operations and its transformation into the world’s largest producer of natural rutile. I would like to especially thank John Sisay for his stewardship of the company as CEO and the efforts and dedication of the management team and employees in reinstating Sierra Rutile as the premier mining company in Sierra Leone. We are also appreciative of the long-standing support from Nedbank and Sierra Rutile’s major shareholders, M&G Investments, JPMorgan Asset Management and Neon Liberty, who have followed us on this journey to help realise the potential of Sierra Rutile’s world-class mineral sands asset.”
Pala is an investment company focused exclusively on the mining sector with a strong track record of successful investments and value creation. Pala’s team has extensive experience within the sector and seeks to assist companies in which it has long-term shareholdings by providing strategic advice and innovative solutions in development, production, turnaround and advanced exploration situations. Pala invests across all geographies and in all mining commodities as well as mining services and consumables. For more information, visit www.pala.com. Contact: Richard Brown, Tel: +41 41 560 9070