Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Platinum miner Tharisa has agreed to buy 153 "yellow fleet" vehicles and transfer employees from MCC, the struggling mining contracting subsidiary of eXtract, in a deal valued at R303m.

"The Tharisa transaction forms part of eXtract’s strategy to exit certain contract mining contracts and to dispose of all excess assets," Thursday’s statement said.

Tharisa said the 153 "yellow fleet" machines it is purchasing include excavators, off-highway dump trucks, articulated dump trucks and support vehicles, as well as 17 additional machines from another MCC site.

In addition, Tharisa will accept assignment in respect of leased equipment comprising drill rigs, excavators and off-highway dump trucks, and will continue to lease these 14 machines. The settlement amount for the leased equipment as at June 1 will be about R100.2m, Tharisa said.

The share price of eXtract — formerly Eqstra, the logistics business unbundled from Imperial in 2008 — plunged 37% on April 18 when its main financier, enX, said it was no longer willing to support eXtract’s wholly owned subsidiary, MCC.

EnX transformed itself from Austro into a larger industrial holding company by acquiring Eqstra’s industrial equipment and fleet management divisions in October 2016, in a cash and share deal valued at R7.8bn.

Though enX did not buy MCC, it did commit to lending R900m to the mining contracting business, which remained in Eqstra’s JSE-listing and was renamed eXtract. In April, enX and eXtract issued a joint statement saying that MCC needed to sell its assets to reduce its debt.

Among MCC’s many problems listed in April was that its customer Tharisa wanted to pursue an owner-operator model.

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