May 17, 2019 / 9:11 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 2-South Africa's Sibanye wins final regulatory go-ahead for Lonmin deal

(Adds Sibanye-Stillwater and Lonmin comment)

CAPE TOWN, May 17 (Reuters) - South Africa’s Competition Appeal Court gave the green light on Friday to Sibanye-Stillwater’s takeover of Lonmin that aims to create the world’s second-largest platinum producer.

Lonmin’s biggest mining union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), had filed an appeal trying to block the deal or have it re-examined to prevent job cuts after an earlier approval by the Competition Tribunal.

“The appeal fails,” Judge Dennis Davis said in his written judgement.

Sibanye can now implement the all-share deal that values Lonmin at 226 million pounds ($289 million) on the basis approved by the Competition Tribunal last November, said HB Senekal, a lawyer representing Sibanye who was in court.

AMCU’s case centred on layoffs, a sensitive issue in South Africa, where unemployment is at 27% according to latest data.

AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa could not be reached for comment.

“The combination creates a larger and more diversified company which we believe is in the best interest of Lonmin shareholders and other stakeholders,” Lonmin Chief Executive Ben Magara said in a statement.

Lonmin has been cutting thousands of jobs to reduce costs.

The ruling, a victory for Sibanye, will see investors in cash-strapped Lonmin exchange their shares for a roughly 11 percent stake in a more stable precious metal producer.

Shareholders are set to vote on the deal on May 28.

$1 = 0.7825 pounds Reporting by Wendell Roelf in Cape Town and Tanisha Heiberg in Johannesburg Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Edmund Blair

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