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Straits announces Tritton buyback

LOCAL copper and coal miner Straits Resources has announced its intention to buy back 50 per cent of shares in Tritton Resources, a company it used as a vehicle to spin out its NSW copper assets in 2003. Straits retained 26.5 per cent of Tritton then, but is now seeking majority control via a scrip offer of 10 shares in itself for every 27 held in Tritton, valuing the company at about 69 cents per share, based on Straits’ share price which has recently been trading at around $1.85. Tritton’s independent directors have recommended the offer to shareholders, who are forbidden from selling more than half of their holding, ensuring Straits cannot gain more than 63 per cent of the company. The combined copper production of the companies is estimated to reach 40,000 tonnes by 2006. The shared copper assets will include the Tritton NSW copper site and Straits’ Whim Creek mine, 110 kilometres south of Port Hedland, currently under construction. Straits expects Tritton shareholders will receive its bidder’s statement in early July, and said the offer will remain open for one month. Following the announcement, shares in Tritton reached a high of 69 cents.

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