Assore buys more shares in Gemfields

22nd September 2021 By: Mariaan Webb - Creamer Media Deputy Editor Online

Manganese and iron-ore company Assore has increased its shareholding in emerald and ruby miner Gemfields to 12.74%.

The privately-held company last week bought an additional 90 533 595 shares of Gemfields, taking its holding to 147 947 454 shares.

“Online share price services, including Sharenet, reported two offmarket block trades totalling 90 113 595 shares at a price of R3.20 a share on September 17,” Gemfields said in a disclosure statement on Wednesday.

The transaction was done at a 29.5% premium to Gemfields' closing price of R2.47 a share on September 17.

At R3.20 a share, Assore paid about R289-million for its additional holding, taking its total investment in the gem miner to about R477-million. The company closed at R2.80 a share on Wednesday.

The principal investment of Assore, which delisted from the JSE in May last year, is a 50% interest in Assmang, which it controls jointly with African Rainbow Minerals. Assmang is involved in the mining of iron, manganese and chrome ores.

On the interim results for the six months of Gemfields ending June 30, Gemfields CEO Sean Gilbertson stated on Thursday: “We’re delighted to announce our return to strong operational and financial performance after the Covid-induced horrors of 2020."

Gilbertson described the results as a testament to the half-year work of the company’s teams, including their re-opening of the world’s largest emerald and ruby mines which produced no new gemstone supply for a year given the need to preserve cash in the wake of the pandemic.

“With the mines back in full-swing, a much-improved cash position and the step-change in market demand we’ve witnessed in our recent auctions, we are palpably excited about the remainder of 2021,” Gilbertson enthused.

Gemfields is the operator and 75%-owner of both the Kagem emerald mine, in Zambia – believed to be the world’s single biggest producing emerald mine – and the Montepuez ruby mine in Mozambique – one of the most significant recently discovered ruby deposits in the world.