Bill Beament’s Northern Star announced back in November 2018 that it had put $150 million on the table to buy out Tribune Resources Limited and Rand Mining Limited’s 49 per cent stake in the East Kundana Joint Venture (EKJV).
Beament said the offer was an “outstanding opportunity” for shareholders of both companies.
An offer which was unanimously rejected by both the boards of Rand and Tribune and stated (individually) that the offer was “significantly undervalued” and “opportunistic” by Northern Star.
Experts believe that the ‘squeaky clean’ Beament was out to take advantage of Rand and Tribune who were only recently coming to terms with the Takeovers Panels decision (October 2018) and using it to Northern Star’s benefit.
Building upon Northern Star’s $75 million buy-out of Barrick Gold back in 2014, Bill Beament looked to lay down the final piece of the EKJV puzzle and complete the 100 per cent acquisition of operations at EKJV.
However, one must look at Northern Star’s operational objectives and how it appears that Beament’s tactics to bulldoze their way to maximum gold production is similar to that of a school bully charging to the front of the lunch line.
Mining costs have increased at the EKJV. Is that due to factors outside of Northern Star’s control or is more emphasis simply put on meeting production targets at the expense of costs?
Afterall, it’s Northern Star who pull the strings at the EKJV and with a combined holding of 49 per cent, Rand and Tribune are playing second-fiddle to Beament’s Northern Star.
Back in September 2018, Rand Mining alleged that Northern Star had mined and processed, to its own account, a proportion of the stockpiles – an issue which has been previously raised with Northern Star.
In a bullish tone, after Rand and Tribune rejected Northern Star’s “significantly undervalued” offer, Northern Star released an ASX announcement on 31st December 2018:
“Neither the Tribune and Rand Boards nor their appointed financial adviser have formally engaged with Northern Star in response to the offers, and the proposed transactions have not been put to the Tribune or Rand shareholders for consideration.”
Clearly unimpressed with the decision, one has to ask if Northern Star are even fit enough to acquire 100 per cent of the EKJV?
2016-2018 has seen a steep rise in expenditure costs at the EKJV and their budget forecast have not predicted actual figures.
What we do know is that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Bill Beament and his perceived squeaky clean ways. The milky bar kid’s strategy at the EKJV is somewhat questionable, often leaving skid marks in Northern Star’s race for gold.