Sirius Minerals’ shareholders vote for Anglo American’s £405m rescue deal

Shareholders have voted to approve the £405m bid by Anglo American to buy troubled mining company Sirius Minerals.

The vote on the 5.5p-per-share offer required thousands of small investors to accept losses of up to 90%.

However Sirius had warned it would go into administration by the end of March if the deal was not approved and company directors had reiterated their support for Anglo’s takeover at an EGM in London today.

Its share price has dropped sharply over the last 18 months on the back of rising costs and funding problems, and the company’s market value plummeted from £2.6bn to today, when Anglo’s £405m take-it-or-leave-it offer was the only bid.

62% of shareholders voted in favour, passing the simple majority threshold, while the second vote which required 75% approval of shares by value achieved 80%.

Sirius chairman Russell Scrimshaw said: “The positive outcome from today’s meeting secures a return for shareholders, and provides greater certainty in terms of safeguarding the project, protecting the jobs of our employees, and allowing the commuity, region and the UK to continue to benefit from the project.”

The transformational mining project is for a polyhalite mine in North Yorkshire and a 23-mile tunnel which would transport fertilizer underground to a processing plant in Teesside.

More than $1.5bn (£1.2bn) has already been invested in the scheme, and Anglo estimated a further $3.1bn (£2.4bn) is needed to be put in to complete. It has been forecast to create more than 1,000 jobs and generate exports of £2.5bn a year when the mine was at full production.

The estimates said it would reduce the UK’s trade deficit by 7% and make annual tax contributions worth £472m a year.