Tsinghua University Purchases Tianshan Aluminium for US$3.7 Billion

Tsinghua University

China’s Tsinghua University announced yesterday that a publicly-listed unit of the prestigious institution is purchasing Tianshan Aluminum for approximately CNY23.6 billion (US$3.7 billion) in a move that some analysts view as a maneuver intended to be a “backdoor listing” for the aluminium smelter.

Xiamen Unigroup Xue Co Ltd is the Tsinghua entity making the offer, revealing in a statement that the transaction would consist of payment in cash and shares over a period of time, culminating in the company’s 100-percent interest in the aluminium smelter. The total cash price and the time frame for payment was not specified by the firm, nor was the company’s rationale for pursuing the buyout.

According to a Unigroup source who spoke to Reuters earlier this week, several details remained to be ironed out.

“Right now the overall plan is still being discussed,” the intentionally-anonymous official indicated. “After the plan is finalised, it will be handed over to the board of directors.”

Tsinghua University, which is among the top universities in the People’s Republic of China, holds a stake in a wide variety of private ventures, including a small stake in Ningbo Fubang Jingye, an aluminium producer and distributor. The state-run university holds its 1.5-percent stake in Ningbo Fubang through Tsinghua Unigroup as well.

Though shares of the Shenzen-listed education services provider are currently suspended due to an ongoing corporate restructuring, Tsinghua Unigroup has been planning the purchase since at least May when it somewhat cryptically announced that an unnamed aluminium firm in Xinjiang was being targeted for purchase at an unspecified price.

Tianshan Aluminum’s smelter was commissioned in 2011 and boasts a nameplate capacity of 1.4 million metric tons per annum according to Zhang Rufeng of the commodities consulting firm Baiinfo.

Neither Tianshan Aluminium nor Tsinghua Unigroup responded to queries from the media for comment.



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