Aricom Eyes Takeover by Hambro

LONDON -- British-Russian miner Aricom said Friday that it was in early talks that may lead to an all-share offer from gold miner Peter Hambro Mining, prompting Aricom's shares to surge almost 80 percent.

Aricom, which mines iron ore and other minerals in Russia's Far East for clients in China, said any share offer would be made "at a substantial premium to the current share price."

In a statement released later Friday, Peter Hambro Mining confirmed that it was in preliminary discussions with Aricom about a possible offer. The consideration for any offer would comprise shares in Peter Hambro Mining, it said.

"The discussions are at a very preliminary stage, and there is no certainty that any offer will be made," it said.

The company was spun off from Hambro, Russia's second-largest gold miner, in 2003. Peter Hambro, Hambro's executive chairman, and Pavel Maslovsky, Hambro's deputy chairman, both sit on Aricom's board.

Maslovsky and Hambro each own a 7.4 percent stake in Aricom, according to Reuters data.

"There is no certainty that any offer will be forthcoming," Aricom said in a statement, adding that Morgan Stanley was advising on the deal.

Shares in Aricom ended Friday 52 percent higher at 16 pence, having earlier risen as high as 18.50 pence. Shares in Peter Hambro were 1.8 percent.