* China court auctions off 28,336 T of ammonium paratungstate
* Sale of inventory from defunct Fanya exchange attracted 135 bids
* China Moly is paying 4.4% premium to current APT spot price
By Tom Daly
BEIJING, Sept 17 (Reuters) - China Molybdenum Co on Tuesday held off fierce competition from a rival bidder to win an auction of ammonium paratungstate (APT) inventory, formerly held by the Fanya Metal Exchange, for 3.27 billion yuan ($461.49 million).
The series of auctions by the Kunming Intermediate People’s court, hosted on e-commerce platform Taobao, are being closely watched by former investors in Fanya who are owed money after the exchange collapsed in 2015, as well as minor metal traders given the large volumes coming on to the market.
China Moly is the majority owner of one of the world’s biggest copper-cobalt mines, Tenke Fungurume in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It also operates the Sandaozhuang molybdenum-tungsten mine in its home city of Luoyang, in central China’s Henan province.
The company took the 28,336,347 kg, or roughly 28,336 tonnes of APT, a white powder that reacts with carbon at high temperature to produce tungsten metal, with a winning bid of 3.268 billion yuan, according to the auction results on Taobao.
That is by far the largest amount of money raised in six Fanya auctions so far and exceeded the stipulated market value of 3.06 billion yuan. The APT drew a total of 135 bids from only two bidders, with the identity of the second bidder being unclear.
All but seven of the bids in the latest auction came on Tuesday morning as the bidding window, which was supposed to close at 1000 Beijing time (0200 GMT), was extended by almost two hours.
China Moly, which declined to comment on the auction results, is paying around 115,338 yuan a tonne for the APT, according to Reuters calculations.
That is a premium of 4.4% to current APT spot prices in China CUS-TGGBAP-MMET, which have fallen by around 27% so far this year amid the Fanya inventory overhang.
One tungsten industry source following the bidding said the volume being auctioned was equivalent to between one-quarter and one-third of annual APT production globally. ($1 = 7.0857 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Tom Daly; editing by Uttaresh.V)