OZ Minerals is pleased to announce that it has secured a bridging finance facility of up to A$140 million, to be provided by all of its “Facility A” lenders (as described in previous announcements). All documentation to enable the Company to draw down under this facility has been executed and the Company expects to have access to funds under the facility as from Tuesday 27 January 2009. As at close of business on 21 January, the Company’s cash balance was A$122.1 million.
Proceeds from the bridging facility are principally available to be used to cover expected short-term cash requirements in respect of the Company’s operations and projects at Golden Grove, Prominent Hill and Martabe.
“While copper and zinc prices have recovered by around 16% and 8% respectively from their recent lows in December, prices are still well below the levels at the end of September”, said Andrew Michelmore, Managing Director and CEO of OZ Minerals. “In this environment, our ability to access this bridging finance facility provides the Company with sure access to the short-term funding it needs whilst we finalise the refinancing of debt facilities.”
The bridging facility announced today will terminate on 27 February 2009 and is repayable by that date. As previously announced to the market, OZ Minerals is working to achieve a refinancing of its debt facilities by 27 February 2009 with the agreement of its lenders and, in that context, is actively pursuing both an asset sale program and other initiatives.
“We are not yet in a position to announce any firm outcomes in respect of asset sales or other initiatives as these matters are still incomplete and subject to on-going confidential negotiations, but we have been delighted with the level of interest expressed in most of our assets and with progress to date”, said Andrew Michelmore. “It is never possible to forecast definitive dates in circumstances such as these, but we are confident that we will be able to inform the market of tangible progress in this regard in the future.”
Separately, OZ Minerals has granted security as agreed over certain of its Australian assets to Societe Generale, the lender under Facility C (as previously reported to the market), and has agreed a timetable with Societe Generale for the provision of further security over certain of the Company’s overseas assets by 30 January 2009.
“The last few months have been extremely testing for OZ Minerals, our shareholders, our employees and our suppliers”, said Andrew Michelmore, “and without their support, the situation would have been much more difficult for us to manage.
“We have had to take some very tough decisions to enable us to get to this point but, as we have said on other occasions, we will do everything we sensibly can to ensure that the Company gets through this very difficult period and resumes trading on the ASX.
“The Board is extremely grateful to those who have continued to support the Company and I look forward to being able to make further announcements regarding progress towards refinancing our balance sheet in the near future”, concluded Andrew Michelmore.
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