SHARES in the world’s second largest mineral sands miner, Iluka Resources, have risen on the news of a significant shareholding taken by an investment syndicate associated with some of Australia’s highest profile business people.
The syndicate includes Publishing and Broadcasting deputy chairman Kerry Packer, and John Wylie and Mark Carnegie through investment banking firm Wylie, Carnegie & Co. Others include entities associated with STW Communications Group founder John Singleton, former head of Normandy Mining and Buka Minerals chairman Robert Champion de Crespigny, and investment banker Cornelis de Bruin.
The syndicate has spent $123 million since March to achieve a 7.25 per cent stake in Iluka, which formed in 1999 as the result of a merger between local miners Westralian Sands and RGC.
The raid on Iluka shares – sending the stock as high as $8.03, up from $7.20 – is being coordinated by Sydney-based Buka Minerals, which has spent $5 million as part of the syndicate.
Mr Packer’s interests represent half of the total, according to a statement made by Buka to the Australian Stock Exchange.
Over the past 18 months an investor group, including entities associated with Mr de Crespigny, Ronald Walker and Wylie, Carnegie & Co, has used its 33 per cent shareholding to take control of Buka, which is the largest shareholder in locally-based miner CopperCo.
This group has redirected Buka’s business strategy from that of a traditional explorer and developer to reflect a resource sector finance and investment firm.
Iluka management was reportedly unaware of Buka’s investment, learning of it through the ASX announcement.
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