Mr Candy, who gained fame with his brother Nick during the property boom for selling opulent London flats, on Friday made an cash offer for Metals Exploration – a miner operating in the Western Pacific.
The offer, made through Mr Candy’s Solomon Capital investment vehicle, which already holds 44 per cent of Metals Exploration, values the company at 13p per share, or £35.8m.
Mr Candy, who worked as a commodities trader in London before going into property development with his brother in the 1990s, built a large fortune through property, but recent planned developments in London and Beverly Hills have collapsed under their debt burdens.
CPC Group, owned by Christian Candy, on Friday settled a lawsuit with the real-estate investment arm of Qatar’s sovereign-wealth fund over a failed deal to redevelop London’s landmark Chelsea Barracks site.
If Mr Candy succeeds in taking Metals Exploration private it would be his first fully owned venture outside of property.
Solomon said it had launched the offer as it believes Metals Exploration will struggle to raise the $149m it needs for capital expenditure, and that it would fair better as a private company. “ … As a small UK quoted company, with a significant overseas project and operations, Metals Exploration will struggle to attract the research coverage, liquidity and level of market rating that would make retaining its existing Aim listing worthwhile,” Soloman said.
Metals Exploration said on Friday it was evaluating Solomon Capital’s offer.
The miner was listed on Aim in October 2004 with the purpose of buying up and developing mines in South-East Asia. Its main project is the development of the Runruno gold and molybdenum project in the Philippines.
Solomon’s offer, which is wholly owned by Christian Candy, will be fully financed by the property magnate, and would involve a maximum cash payment of £20.3m.
That payment will in turn be funded by a loan from Mr Candy’s CPC Group.
Shareholders representing 9 per cent of Metals Exploration have said they will accept Solomon Capital’s offer.
Metals Exploration shares rose 2¾p to 13p.