Business Irish

Monday 16 September 2019

Desmond raises Canadian diamond miner stake to 29pc

Financier: Dermot Desmond has been a long-time shareholder in Mountain Province Diamonds. Photo: Damien Eagers
Financier: Dermot Desmond has been a long-time shareholder in Mountain Province Diamonds. Photo: Damien Eagers
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Billionaire financier Dermot Desmond has continued to raise his stake in Canada's Mountain Province Diamonds, and now owns 29.1pc of the listed miner.

But his Vertigol firm in which the stake is held has told the US stock exchange that it is a long-term investor in the mining firm and has "no current or planned intent" to effect a change of control in the business.

Mountain Province Diamonds owns a 49pc stake in the large Gahcho Kué mine in Canada's remote Northwest Territories. The other share of the mine is owned by diamond mining giant De Beers, which acts as operator.

Mr Desmond has been steadily increasing his stake in Mountain Province Diamonds in recent weeks.

In September, Vertigol notified the stock market that it had raised its stake in the mining firm to 28pc. It had paid a total of C$18.6m (€12.3m) to buy shares to lift the stake.

Since then, Vertigol has continued to raise its holding in Mountain Province Diamonds, which is listed in Toronto and New York and has a market capitalisation of C$365m (€241.6m). Its shares have slumped about 50pc in the past year.

The latest transactions by Vertigol show it recently paid a total of C$2.58m (€1.7m) to buy almost 1.6m shares in the mining company.

The purchases were funded by way of loans from a company called Nebraska Holdings, owned by Mr Desmond.

Vertigol has assured the stock market that it does not intend to take control of Mountain Province Diamonds.

"The acquisition of shares is for long-term investment purposes and, Vertigol, may continue to acquire securities of the Issuer in the future solely for long term investment purposes," it said in a note accompanying the share notification.

It added: "Vertigol has no current or planned intent to acquire securities of the issuer [Mountain Province Diamonds] for any purpose, or with the effect, of changing or influencing control of the issuer."

Irish Independent

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