By Michelle Graff
The Cullinan Mine in South Africa yielded these five blue diamonds weighing between 9.61 and 25.75 carats last month. Cullinan’s owner, Petra Diamonds Ltd., was up for sale but has since pulled itself off the market.
London—Petra Diamonds Ltd. is calling off the sale process and handing itself over to lenders in a debt-for-equity restructuring.

The diamond miner, which has operations in South Africa and Tanzania, put itself up for sale in June, weighed down by debt and hammered by market factors that the pandemic only exacerbated.

On Tuesday, Petra announced it was concluding the formal sale process as it had not generated any viable offers for the company or any of its assets.

Petra owns a total of four diamond mines: Cullinan, Finsch and Koffiefontein, all former De Beers Group mines in South Africa; and Williamson, a currently mothballed open-pit mine in Tanzania.

The restructuring will involve the London-listed miner’s $650 million bond debt being replaced by $337 million in new notes, $30 million of which will come from existing debtholders, while the remainder will be converted into equity.

Debtholders will then own 91 percent of the company, while existing stakeholders will see their share shrink to 9 percent.

The agreement also includes new governance arrangements and cashflow controls.

In a statement announcing the restructuring deal, Petra Chief Executive Richard Duffy said the agreement, which is subject to approval by all parties, will put the mining company on “viable footing” going forward.

“We own and operate world-class diamond assets; all of our South African mines are now back at normal operating levels, despite being subject to stringent COVID-19 precautionary measures,” he said.

“The board believes the agreement in principle announced today provides the business with a stable, deleveraged capital structure that will ensure the short- and long-term viability of the company. Today is an important milestone for Petra.”

The company is set to release is FY 2021 first-quarter results (for the three-month period ended Sept. 30) on Oct. 27.

TAGS:   Mining
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