The Competition Tribunal on Wednesday approved the merger between Sibanye-Stillwater and Lonmin, with conditions.
As part of its consent for the transaction, it imposed a six-month moratorium on retrenchments at the Lonmin operations.
Sibanye noted in a statement that the moratorium excluded any voluntary separation agreements and ordinary course of business terminations and does not prevent Sibanye from initiating proceedings in terms of Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act, provided that such proceedings are not concluded within the six-month moratorium period.
"I am extremely pleased that the tribunal has approved the transaction, on terms which we believe are fair, reasonable and in the best interest of all stakeholders. We are confident that the integration of Lonmin's platinum group metals (PGM) assets and Sibanye's adjacent PGM operations, will ensure a more sustainable and positive future for these assets and bring greater stability to the region.
"I would also like to acknowledge the comprehensive and pragmatic approach taken by the Competition Commission and the tribunal, with all stakeholders having been given due consideration. This has ensured a fair and judicious outcome, which recognises Sibanye's commitment to the South African mining sector and the benefits that will accrue to all stakeholders," Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman commented.
Lonmin CEO Ben Magara also welcomed the tribunal's decision.
"Despite our enviable mine to market operations and our positive fourth-quarter performance, the fundamental challenges the company faces as a standalone business remain. Consolidation provides a sustainable solution to the industry’s challenges.
"Consequently, we firmly believe that the transaction is in the best interests of Lonmin shareholders and all other stakeholders of Lonmin, providing the company with a comprehensive and more certain solution," he said.
The transaction remains subject to approval by Sibanye and Lonmin's shareholders and the companies will soon convene their respective shareholder meetings, with a view to finalising the deal in the first quarter of 2019.