Australia’s Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison is being asked by local government representatives to reject a Chinese firm’s effort to acquire Gulf Alumina.
“I have serious concerns about the integrity of the company. I also have serious concerns about their motives,” explained Parliament Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch. Entsch is spearheading a movement to block Moly Mines’ attempt to take over Gulf Alumina. Moly Mines is owned by Chinese investor Hanlong, which has seen several of its executives imprisoned for insider trading. Moly Mines has been suspended from trading on the Australian Stock Exchange since the spring of 2014.
“I will be expressing a very strong objection,” he said, pledging to speak to Morrison personally on the subject.
Entsch went on to tell local media that he believed there are “fairly damning” reports about the company and its executives, and “a lot of warning flags” regarding the company and its actions.
Although he understood that a process must be followed, his opinion was that Morrison would not come down on the side of approving the sale.
“But I would be very surprised, given his consistency in other areas, that he will … support this,” he said.
Morrison’s office had no comment on the purchase.
“The government does not comment on individual FIRB (Foreign Investment Review Board) cases before the government for decision making,” said a spokesperson for Morrison.
Metro Mining, which has tendered takeover offers as late as last month, seemed untroubled by Moly’s offer.
“The proposed transaction is subject to many conditions, some of which may be very difficult to satisfy,” a spokesperson from Metro said.
The firm did not say whether it would tender a rival bid, but said in a press release that it “remained open to bringing about the logical combination of Metro and Gulf’s projects.” At present, Metro is still the holder of the biggest single share of Gulf’s outstanding stock.