Scandal-hit miner ENRC switches City PR advisers as takeover heats up

ENRC, the troubled FTSE 100 Kazakh miner, has brought in new City PR advisers as the takeover deal to delist it from the London Stock Exchange reaches critical point.

ENRC: Mining firm's takeover reaches critical stage
ENRC: Mining firm's takeover reaches critical stage

The trio of oligarchs who founded ENRC and the Government of Kazakhstan are bidding to buy out the 44 per cent of the company they do not already own in a £3bn takeover that would see the mining firm ditch its London listing.

The takeover bid took shape after news broke earlier in the year that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) had instigated a criminal investigation into ENRC and allegations of corruption related to its African operations.

The firm has switched its financial PR to Capital MSL in recent days during a week of further twists in the takeover process.

In the past week Capital MSL has handled comms over letters sent to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and the Takeover Panel by UK-based Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID) urging them to halt the deal as delisting the firm ‘may facilitate a crime’. The accusations relate to an alleged breach of sanctions in Zimbabwe over ENRC’s takeover of fellow miner CAMEC.

ENRC responded forcefully, stating that the allegations were ‘extremely serious and unfounded' and that: ‘Had RAID contacted the company they would have been told that when ENRC acquired CAMEC it sought and obtained all necessary regulatory clearances and/or consents for the transaction.’

Capital MSL declined to comment.

The account was previously held by M:Communications, which PRWeek today reveals is to be wound down 'within weeks'. M: had continued work on the account until surrendering it last week.

Meanwhile, FTI Consulting has been supporting comms by the bidding consortium created by the three Russian businessmen, Alexander Machkevitch, Alijan Ibragimov, Patokh Chodiev, and the Government of Kazakhstan.

On Friday, it emerged that the group’s largest single investor. Kazakhmys. was backing the deal. College Hill is retained by Kazakhmys.

Additionally, PRWeek revealed earlier this year that the seven-man independent board charged with determining ENRC’s future had appointed City PR giants Brunswick to support its communications.

In May, a panel led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan alleged that the company had cost the Democratic Republic of the Congo at least US$725m (£612.2m) in potential revenues between 2010 and 2012 as a result of undervaluing state assets.

Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank also stepped down as the company's corporate brokers amid the allegations.

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