• Mining services giant Thiess vanquished challenger NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH) for the right to acquire WA contractor MACA (ASX:MLD)
  • Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) cops 15% whack from investors on news of a disagreement with technology partner Lilac Solutions


Mining services giant Thiess vanquished its challenger NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH) for the right to acquire WA contractor MACA (ASX:MLD) after lifting its $1.025 per share cash bid to $1.075.

Now it is only in a war for the hearts and minds of MACA shareholders, with its offer, considered to be both fair and reasonable by MACA’s independent expert Grant Thornton, currently picking up acceptances at a glacial pace.

Thiess boasts an interest of 27.81% in MACA currently, and now says once it has a relevant interest of more than 50% of shares on issue it will make the offer unconditional.

That means MACA shareholders who have accepted the offer will have certainty that their cash will come “in a timely manner” as Thiess and MACA put it.

The deal has already received acceptances from MACA’s founding shareholders and directors.

It has been extended by 11 days now out to October 7, with MACA founder and non-executive chairman Geoff Baker, who stands to make a pretty penny out of the deal, saying it “represents an attractive premium to trading prices prior to the announcement of the offer.”

MACA shares are up 33% over the past year, largely in the wake of the Thiess bid which lobbed at a 34.4% premium to its 80c price the day before the offer, but have roughly halved in value since this time in 2017.


MACA (ASX:MLD) share price today:



Lake shares drop on Kachi update

On a day characterised by murder and mayhem in local markets, Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) has fallen harder than most after copping a 15% whack from investors on news of a (seemingly small) disagreement with technology partner Lilac Solutions.

ASX 200 Lake characterised the boom and bust nature of lithium stocks in 2022, soaring to record highs in April of $2.45 a share before dropping quickly on its inclusion in Australia’s flagship index.

Unlike its peers like Allkem (ASX:AKE), IGO (ASX:IGO), Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), Core Lithium (ASX:CXO) and Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR), Lake isn’t mining any lithium right now nor does it have a completed DFS.

That doesn’t mean the $1.5b capped lithium explorer won’t have success in the future — it plans to produce as much as 100,000tpa and last week appointed former McDermott CEO David Dickson as its MD and CEO — but its $3.5b+ market valuation earlier this year did raise some eyebrows.


A drop in the Lake?

Lake wants to use direct lithium extraction (DLE) to produce lithium from its Kachi brine operations in Argentina, a similar technique to the one Rio wants to use at its newly acquired Rincon project. Here’s where today’s news comes in.

To do that it has brought in a technology partner known as Lilac Solutions, which will pick up a 25% stake in the project subject to certain conditions being met with regards to a pilot plant at the Kachi project, including completing 1000hrs of work onsite at the pilot unit and producing a lithium carbonate feed totalling at least 2500kg of LC equivalent.

Lilac thinks it has until November 30 to hit these milestones, whereas Lake thinks they need to be met by September 30. That’s inspired some nervousness among investors.

Lake says it has exercised rights to have the dispute resolved either by agreement or arbitration.

“To resolve the dispute, Lake has exercised its rights to have the dispute resolved either by agreement of both Lake and Lilac or by arbitration,” the company said.

“If the milestones are not achieved by the required date, then Lake has certain buy back rights under the Agreement which it may exercise at its option.

“Work continues on progressing the DFS and Lake will update the market in due course on both progress on resolution of the current dispute and the ongoing DFS.”

Lake shares were down 16.54% or 21c today.


Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) share price today: