LONDON Chinas National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the countrys economic regulator, is simplifying its approval process for Chinese companies seeking to invest abroad.
A draft implementation plan for the NDRCs new process is expected to be published in early February, Gloria Rong, mergers and acquisitions manager at China Chengtong Holdings Group Ltd. (CCHG), told AMM sister publication Steel First on the sidelines of the Central and East Africa Mining Investment Summit in London. CCHG is an asset management platform for the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.
NDRC consent is one of the key requirements for Chinese mining companies looking to invest abroad.
Under the commissions new approach, announced in December 2013, only overseas investments valued at more than $1 billion or targeted in "sensitive" regions or industries would require the regulators approval. Deals below the $1-billion mark might still need to be "recorded" with the NDRC, according to Rong.
"It remains to be seen whether NDRC policy will be to only allow one deal to be filed at a time, thereby preventing multiple Chinese companies from undertaking substantive work on the same project and so be unable to bid against each other," Australia-based law firm King & Wood Mallesons said on its website Jan. 21.
The NDRC couldnt be reached for comment.
Last year, the state economic planner withheld final regulatory approval from Chinese private company Hanlong Mining Group until it could find a state-owned partner for its proposed Australian $1.4-billion ($1.2-billion) takeover of Sundance Resources Ltd., an Australia-listed iron ore junior focused on South African mining.
Sundance had signed preliminary cooperation agreements with Chinese state-owned companies for its 35-million-tonne-per-year Mbalam project on the border of Cameroon and Republic of Congo, before Hanlongs proposed acquisition of the junior in 2011 (amm.com, Oct. 4, 2011).
Hanlongs bid failed in April last year.