Company Briefs: Alita Resources

Alita Resources

Catalist-listed lithium miner Alita Resources suspended trading of its shares yesterday morning, days after administrators and receivers were appointed in relation to its default on a secured A$40 million (S$37.5 million) loan.

In a bourse filing yesterday, the company said it is "unable to reasonably assess its financial position as it is currently placed under administration". Accordingly, trading in its shares will remain suspended under Catalist rules while the administration continues, said the company.

Alita Resources appointed KordaMentha as its voluntary administrator last Wednesday, according to its announcement last Friday.

Galaxy Resources, as lender of the A$40 million loan, then gave Alita Resources a notice of default last Thursday as a result of this appointment. Following the event of default, Galaxy declared that all monies owing under the loan, including interest, are immediately due. Galaxy also appointed KPMG as receiver and manager last Thursday. The KPMG receiver said last Friday that it is completing an urgent assessment of Alita Resources' financial position, but "with the intention of transitioning operations to care and maintenance shortly".

Saudi Aramco

Saudi Arabia has removed Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih from his position as chairman of Saudi Aramco, the second time his role has been scaled back in less than a week, as the government prepares to sell shares in the state-owned oil company.

Mr Al-Falih said he will be replaced by Mr Yasir Al-Rumayyan, head of the sovereign wealth fund. The appointment of Mr Al-Rumayyan, already an Aramco board member and a key adviser to powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will separate the Ministry of Energy from Aramco and avoid conflicts of interest as the company prepares for the initial public offering (IPO), said a source.

Selling a stake in Aramco, which could be the world's largest IPO, is a key part of the Crown Prince's plan to wean the Saudi economy off reliance on oil. Plans for the IPO were put on hold last year as Aramco focused on the US$69 billion (S$96 billion) acquisition of a majority stake in a state chemical maker. The kingdom's de facto ruler says he expects Aramco to be valued at over US$2 trillion, but analysts see US$1.5 trillion as more realistic. The IPO process accelerated after Aramco completed a US$12 billion bond sale in April. International banks started pitching for a role in the IPO last week, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2019, with the headline 'Company Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe