The influx of 16 local and international banks to fund Sibanye Gold by $2.65bn to buy US palladium and platinum miner Stillwater Mining eased the South African company closer to finalising the deal.

The $2.65bn was initially underwritten by Citi and HSBC when the $2.2bn cash purchase of Stillwater was announced in December, but since then many other banks have joined the syndicate to provide $1.9bn in bridging finance, while Citi, HSBC, RMB and JP Morgan have underwritten a rights issue of at least $750m.

Sibanye recently said it wanted to increase the rights issue to $1.3bn and reduce the debt it would incur on its balance sheet at the request of shareholders concerned about its ability to repay debt from its South African assets because of the stronger rand. Sibanye must secure 75% approval from shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting in April.

Two of the three bridging facilities totalled $1.9bn and raised more than $3bn in the syndication process, Sibanye said. Included in the 16 banks were Absa, FirstRand, Standard Bank, Barclays, JP Morgan and Credit Suisse.

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