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Afferro Now Free To Talk To Other Potential Bidders

Afferro Mining (LON:AFF, CVE:AFF) said a period of exclusivity with an unnamed potential bidder has now expired, allowing it to hold discussions with "other parties".

"Whilst the company has received approaches from a number of interested parties, there can be no certainty that a formal offer will be forthcoming," the group cautioned in a stock exchange statement today.

AIM-listed International Mining and Infrastructure Corporation (LON:IMIC) is one of the firms waiting for the exclusivity period to lapse.

Afferro said on December 31 IMIC could offer between 115 pence and 140 pence a share for the exploration group, whose major asset is the 2.5bn tonne Nkout iron ore deposit in Cameroon.

Broker SP Angel notes that IMIC is the only other company to thus far publicly throw its hat into the ring for £101mln valued Afferro, but suggests other names in the frame are Jindal Steel and Posco.

"However, given the capitalisation of IMIC of around £17m, any approach by the company should be treated as suspect - the company [Afferro] which listed recently does not have a meaningful asset base but has ambitions to grow itsinfrastructure portfolio," SP Angel says.

"The realisation of value for Afferro depends on an infrastructure partner but they need one with deep pockets. We hope the other approaches have capital or access to capital to take this forward. The share price is likely to mark time till the approaches materialise into offers," the broker predicts.

SP Angel initiated coverage of Afferro with a buy recommendation and a floor value of £1.20 and an upside case of £2.25. The shares were down 3.25p at 96.5p this morning.

Shore Capital, meanwhile, observes that "while some may be disappointed that an offer has not already been forthcoming from the first party [IMIC], we believe that the existence of additional possible bidders should be of benefit in terms of value that can potentially be extracted."

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.