“Emirates Investment House is very interested in buying shares in BCL, but their sale is only possible after the end of the liquidation procedure – when the issue will be settled with the creditors,” indicated liquidator Nigel Warren-Dixon of accounting firm KPMG, who also indicated that taking on the dispute with Norilsk Nickel is one of the conditions of the transaction.
The Arab company has already been granted access in order to carry out due diligence of BCL’s assets, including Nkomati Nickel and Chrome mine. EIH proposal is expected by the end of April, and it will detail the price they are willing to pay for the BCL shares.
In October 2014, Russian nickel and palladium mining and smelting company Norilsk Nickel agreeds to sell its interests in African operations to BCL for US$337 million. After years of discussions and given the decreasing value of global metal markets, the final regulatory approvals for the transaction were obtained on September 6, 2016, with obligation to complete the deal by September 13 for US$271.3 million, but there hasn’t been any attempt to move ahead with the transaction. One month later, BCL had been placed into provisional liquidation.
The situation indicates that Botswana government were never interested in negotiating, and through its investment company Minerals Development Company Botswana (MDCB), the government pushed Norilsk to take legal action despite the Russian company previously showing no appetite for such a struggle. Rather than negotiate, the MDCB Chief Executive Officer Paul Smith is claimed to have convinced cabinet to liquidate BCL before Norilsk could pursue legal action.
The Botswana government’s stealth liquidation is implemented clearly to avoid Norilsk Nickel being able to obtain their money through legal proceedings. This is the main reason why the Russian company has already welcomed the interest from Emirates Investment House and now awaits the UAE based company’s proposal to the BCL liquidators.