Papua New Guinea
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Ausenco taken over in $576M deal

Ausenco has substantial involvement in mining in Papua New Guinea for several international companies. It is known in PNG as Kramer Ausenco Pacific.

Resource Capital Funds bought the then-Australian Securities Exchange-listed Ausenco for A$153 million in 2016.

The deal is believed to be worth US$576 million (A$900 million).

Ausenco co-founder Zimi Meka will remain chief executive officer.

Board member and Ausenco investor Mike Burke, a former chairman and CEO of AECOM, served as an advisor and partner to Eldridge and the buyer consortium.

Burke is expected to join the Ausenco board as chairman.

Ausenco was founded in 1991. Its team of scientists, engineers and professionals design and build mine and metal extraction facilities, and deliver sustainable mine waste and water management, and mine closure and remediation solutions.

Meka said the company had always been about challenging what was possible and delivering services sustainably and with integrity.

"From permitting to closure, our people are finding better ways to plan projects, efficiently use resources, protect the environment and deliver value to clients and communities," he said.

"In Eldridge, Brightstar and Claure Group we have partners that understand this ambition and our culture."

During RCF's ownership, Ausenco has constructed four major copper concentrators: Carrapateena in South Australia, Constancia and Mina Justa in Peru and Mantoverde in Chile, for a combined annual copper capacity of more than 400,000 tonnes. 

Ausenco has 3000 employees, 1600 more than when RCF acquired it.

"We believe our investment in Ausenco clearly displays the strength and differentiation of our investment strategy, which selectively seeks long-term investments in mining businesses we can help grow, while generating strong and consistent returns along the way," RCF managing partner James McClements said.

"Ausenco's innovative culture aligned well with Resource Capital Funds, and the benefits of our relationship cannot be measured purely in financial terms. This is a fantastic outcome for all parties involved, and we wish Ausenco continued success." 

Brightstar Capital Partners CEO Andrew Weinberg said he was confident Ausenco was strategically positioned for future growth.

Claure Group founder and CEO Marcelo Claure said Ausenco's global capability, particularly its efforts in South America were valuable.

"With the shift to more sustainable energy gaining momentum, Latin America will have a key role to play as the main producing region for essential minerals, such as copper and lithium," he said.

"Given Ausenco's strong presence and pipeline of projects in the region, we believe the company will be at the forefront of this transition, actively contributing to the electrification of the world."

RCF's 2016 buyout saved Ausenco from a range of problems, not least being a secured debt of almost $60 million that was almost set to mature.

It had been a long-term investor in the business and said a private structure suited the times.

Perella Weinberg Partners is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Ausenco over the transaction.