La Mancha to acquire 30% stake in Endeavour Mining in strategic partnership

VANCOUVER – La Mancha Holding SARL has a friendly deal to acquire 30 per cent of Endeavour Mining Corp. (TSX:EDV) which will get, in return, a majority stake in the Ity gold mine in western Africa plus up to US$138 million in financial commitments.

La Mancha is a private investment company headed by its chairman Naguib Sawiris — an Egyptian businessman who provided some of the funding for the launch of Wind Mobile as a competitor to Canada’s largest wireless carriers.

Endeavour says the partnership puts it in line to produce 580,000 ounces annually from five operations in western Africa, including in Cote d’Ivoire where the Ity open pit mine is located, 480 kilometres northwest of the capital Abidjan.

“We are pleased to welcome La Mancha and Naguib Sawiris as our long term strategic partner with the shared vision of building a leading, Africa-focused gold producer,” Endeavour chief executive Neil Woodyer said in Monday’s announcement.

Vancouver-based Endeavour will issue 177.1 million of its shares, worth about C$106.3 million as of Friday, to La Mancha as part of the strategic deal. Endeavour’s board of directors would be expanded to nine members, including two nominated by La Mancha — Sawiris and Sebastien de Montessus, who is currently La Mancha’s president and CEO.

It’s anticipated that de Montessus will resign his posts at La Mancha to become president of Endeavour and eventually, within 24 months, Endeavour’s chief executive as well. Initially, Woodyer will remain Endeavour’s CEO and eventually become executive chairment of its board.

In return, La Mancha will transfer its 55 per cent interest in the Ity gold mine in Cote D’Ivoire to Endeavour and contribute US$63 million to the acquired businesses, including US$25 million of cash held at Societe des Mines d’Ity SA.

La Mancha has also made an in-principle commitment to invest up to US$75 million to support Endeavour’s growth.

Other shareholders in the Ity mining business include the Ivorian government, with 10 per cent. The other minority owners are Sodemi (30 per cent) and the Didier Drogba group (five per cent).