Consortium Eastern Field Developments has rejected an independent expert opinion of its $178 million offer for ASX-listed copper miner Finders Resources.

Finders (ASX:FND) told its shareholders to reject Eastern Field’s “inadequate, opportunistic” 23c-per-share offer after financial advisor Deloitte determined it was “neither fair nor reasonable”.

Deloitte assessed the fair market value of Finder’s shares at 31c to 35c.

“We expected a bullish valuation from Finders’ independent expert, in line with typical defence strategies in these takeover situations,” Eastern Field director David Fowler said in response to Finders.

“Needless to say, we wholeheartedly disagree with Deloitte’s valuation because, with all due respect to Deloitte, the valuation reflects a theoretical world of perfection.”

Since the Finders Wetar copper project, which sits on an island in eastern Indonesia, came into production in 2014, the shares have “not come close to trading in the 31c to 35c fair value range suggested by the independent expert because investors simply do not believe Finders is worth that much”, Mr Fowler shot back.

Finder’s shares reached a five-year high of 27c not long after Eastern Field launched its takeover offer in October.

FND shares over the past five years. Source:
FND shares over the past five years. Source:

Eastern Field owns 19.8 per cent of Finders through shares held by Provident Minerals, Indonesian investment firm Saratoga and Indonesian copper-gold miner Merdeka.

“We would be delighted to sell our 19.8 per cent shareholding for the prices mentioned in the Deloitte report, if someone wants to make us an offer,” Mr Fowler said.

“Unfortunately, no one was interested before the recent production issues at Wetar created serious uncertainty on future production expectations, so we would expect even less interest now.”

Provident Minerals tried to sell its Finders shareholding prior to making its unsolicited takeover bid, but was unsuccessful.

Eastern Field is urging Finder’s shareholders to “think seriously” about its offer and move quickly to accept it.

“We believe we will see a far lower Finders share price once the reality of the Q4 operational result is properly focused upon, and the price will move even lower if the re-ramp up towards nameplate takes longer than expected,” Mr Fowler cautioned.

Finders shares closed up 2.1 per cent at 24c on Tuesday.