Daily Mail, London, market report column [Daily Mail, London]
(Daily Mail (London, England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 09--THE first hostile takeover bid of 2013 hit dealers' screens yesterday and was for a Toronto-based company which hopes to develop the world's first underwater gold mine off Papua New Guinea.
Nautilus Minerals soared to 51.4p before closing 11.25p better at 40p after nosey Canadian investor Michael Bailey launched a pounds sterling 148m offer for the company.
Nautilus said it had had no contact with Bailey who apparently is an experienced investor and algorithmic trader who is a former member of a proprietary trading group, called the Band of Scoundrels, that made more than pounds sterling 80m by shorting Citigroup in October 2008.
The world's first sea-floor copper-gold project, Solwara 1, is under development by Nautilus in Papua New Guinea. In November the company said it had stopped assembling mining equipment for the project to save cash as it worked to resolve a dispute with the government.
Shareholders in Nautilus include Russian-controlled Metalloinvest Holdings, Oman-based Mawarid Mining and mining giant Anglo American.
Bailey's name cropped up in February 2010 when he launched an unsuccessful bid to buy diamond miner Vaaldiam Resources.
As sporadic bouts of profit-taking left Afferro Mining 0.75p easier at 94.75p, the boys in dark glasses said they remain confident that the iron ore mining group's days of independence are numbered.
Already in receipt of an approach from International Mining and Infrastructure Corporation, Afferro has also been locked in exclusive talks with an as yet un-named mining group, which could lead to another offer. The deadline is this week-end. Word is the mystery bidder is Rio Tinto, 27.5p easier at 3547p, which is willing to pay around 150p a share to gain control of the West Africa focused group.
Central Asian oil and gas company Roxi Petroleum rocketed 2p, or 94pc, to 4.12p after Kazakhstan-based businessman and investor Kairat Satylganov acquired a 37.5pc stake in the company at 7p a share. Satylganov is the former chairman of two of the largest Kazakh banks, Halyk Bank and ATF Bank.
Mobile phone giant Vodafone, 2.75p better at 162.4p, did its best to keep the Footsie in positive territory amid growing speculation that Verizon could soon buy out its stake in its Verizon Wireless joint venture. But when Wall Street traded 60 points lower at the outset ahead of the fourth-quarter reporting season which Alcoa kicked off yesterday, the elite London index drifted to close 10.95 points lower at 6,053.63. The FTSE 250 shed 86.98 points to 12635.01. The Dow was down 55.44 points to 13,328.85 by the closing bell.
Drugs group Shire jumped 49p to 1963p after agreeing to buy Lotus Tissue Repair, a US biotech company developing the first treatment for a rare genetic disorder that causes extremely fragile skin and recurrent blisters.
Ahead of today's Christmas trading statement, J Sainsbury's rose 7.3p to 339p after market researcher Kantar Worldpanel forecast that Britain's third-biggest supermarket chain posted the highest sales growth of the major grocers in the run up to Christmas and was the only one to increase market share.
It says Sainsbury's saw sales growth of 3.4pc, edging its market share up by 0.1 pc points to 17.1pc.
According to Kantar, rival Tesco saw sales growth of 2.9pc but its market share dripped 0.1 percentage points to 30.5pc. Its shares firmed 2.2p to 351.5p ahead of tomorrow's festive season update.
Sellers dragged African Barrick Gold 91.9p lower to 352.1p on hearing parent company Barrick Gold is no longer in discussion with China National Gold over the sale of its 75pc stake in ABG. Dealers had pinned their hopes on an offer in the region of 550p a share.
Investec advised clients to sell Tullow Oil ahead of its trading and operation statement on Friday and many did. The close was 46p lower at 1225p. Analyst Brian Gallagher says the group's production profile has noticeably shifted to the right over the last 18 months. He now estimates that it may not meaningfully maintain production above 100,000 barrels of oil per day until 2018.
BAE Systems edged up 1.3p to 351.6p after the defence group was selected as one of the prime contractors to provide software and system engineering services to the US Army Communications Electronics Command. It comes hard on the heels of its pounds sterling 2.5bn deal to supply 12 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft and eight Hawk training jets to Oman.
Oil and gas producer Nostra Terra edged up 0.04p to 0.58p after beginning production at two wells in the Chisholm Trail Prospect in Oklahoma.
DEALERS expect buying interest in Daily Internet (3.25p) will increase following its promotion on Monday to AIM from ISDX, the former PLUS market. Chaired by Manchester United director Michael Edelson, it is a web hosting business set up by Abby Hardoon, who sold Host Europe to Pipex in 2004 for pounds sterling 31m. DI is operating at break-even levels with sales up 8pc in the first six months to September 2012.
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