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BHP to raise SolGold stake to 11.2% for £45M

BHP Billiton Group agreed to raise its stake in SolGold PLC to 11.2% from 6% through a £45 million share subscription agreement.

According to separate Oct. 15 releases, BHP will acquire 100 million SolGold shares at 45 pence apiece, and earned the right to nominate one director to the SolGold board, provided its shareholding does not drop below 10%.

The mining giant also agreed not to acquire additional SolGold shares for two years, subject to certain exceptions. BHP also holds a right to retain its 11.2% shareholding by participating in future share placements.

For a period of two years, BHP will support recommendations for the composition of SolGold's board, as well as independent expert-backed recommendations over a change of control transaction involving the miner or the Cascabel porphyry copper-gold project in Ecuador.

SolGold also holds a right of first refusal to acquire the shares BHP holds in the event the latter would sell its shareholding to Newcrest Mining Ltd.

A Sept. 5 report by The Australian Financial Review said BHP's approximately £27.4 million acquisition of a 6.1% stake in SolGold from Guyana Goldfields Inc. may lead to a bidding war with Newcrest, which owns a 14.5% stake.

The exercising of options by third parties had diluted BHP's holding in SolGold slightly to 6% from the initial 6.1%.