Atacocha Shares Shoot Up 2.5 Times

Friday, August 3, 2001

Shares of Peruvian zinc miner Atacocha have shot up more than 2.5 times since Wednesday's (August 1) lifting of a five-day trading suspension by Lima bourse regulators Conasev.

Some 3.7mn shares have been traded over two days, mostly at 3.40 soles (US$1=3.49 soles), but some have swapped hands for 3.91 soles, according to the weekly market report from Lima stock brokerage Wiese Sudameris.

"It has been rumored that they have all been bought by Milpo," it said. Expansion-minded polymetallic Milpo has launched a purchase order to acquire 6mn shares of its neighbor in central Peru's Cerro de Pasco mining district.

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It is offering a minimum of 2.60 soles (US$0.75/share, or US$4.5mn in total) to acquire the approximately 4.2% of Atacocha it needs to take control. The move follows a bitter battle over Milpo's public tender offer, which left it with 45.8% of Atacocha.

Milpo claims Atacocha committed "irregularities" during the offer period and has called on Conasev to investigate, while Atacocha's management has asked Conasev to oblige Milpo to make an open public tender offer to acquire at least 10% more of the company.

It says the substantially higher price would only benefit a very small group of shareholders and showed the original offer price was not considered attractive enough.

For its part, Milpo says the 2.60 soles (US$0.75/share) offer "in no way reflects" a fair price for Atacocha.

Milpo wants to combine Atacocha's operations with its own Porvenir mine in central Peru's Cerro de Pasco mining district. Milpo also has the Cerro Lindo project in Peru and the Ivan-Zar copper mine in northern Chile.