Sirius - The Final Chapter?

Hundreds of local jobs along with thousands of futures associated with the Woodsmith Mine hang in the balance this week.

Shareholders, Institutional and private investors get to vote on the Anglo American deal to inject much needed investment to continue the work of Sirius Minerals to bring Woodsmith Mine into production.

The outcome of this weeks vote will be reported and covered as and when news becomes available.



Teesside Gazette Live

Teesside Live reporter Kelley Price has travelled to London for the meeting and will be providing live updates and reaction.

"The Daily Telegraph are also at the meeting and their man has tweeted this about the security levels at the meeting.

It’s clear there are a lot of unhappy investors."

"Mr Scrimshaw said there has been a huge amount of misinformation circulating, abusive language and threats to members of the board. 

That is completely unacceptable. That is why we have increased security today."

"Never seen this much security for a shareholder meeting. Fair to say that emotions are running high ahead of a vote this morning to decide the fate of Sirius Minerals."

"Interesting mix of people here. Lots of individuals investors who’ve taken the day off to come to the meeting, and some guys in suits looking uncomfortable."

"CEO Chris Fraser tells the shareholder to “stick to the facts”. Shareholder responds: “You too Mr Fraser.”


"I can see why they have chairman Russell Scrimshaw holding this meeting. When Chris Fraser gets on the mic he’s a lot more punchy, telling this shareholder he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about."

“You are stupid, in my opinion,” says Gavin Palmer, from ShareSoc, a shareholder interest group. Palmer has held the floor for about 15 minutes now, waxing lyrical on the company’s accounts."

"Fraser accuses Palmer of having an suspicious agenda, and being on his high horse. “What have you raised in your career?” Fraser fires back at Palmer. Disdain dripping from every word."

"“You need to be removed,” Palmer says as his parting shot."

"Quite a bit of commotion in the hall outside the meeting. Shouting."

"Fraser says that no higher offer is coming from Anglo American. “We’ve failed, and we’re incredibly sorry for the outcome. But this offer is the only way forward.”

"CEO confirms that if vote fails today, Anglo could still buy Sirius from administrators when it collapses (likely before the end of this month, according to chairman)."

“There’s no point hypothesizing about vain hopes of what might happen. This is the offer on the table today. If shareholders vote against this, the most likely outcome is that Sirius collapses,” says Fraser."

"Chris Fraser concedes that the offer from Anglo isn’t a great price, but it’s the only price they’ve got. “It would be even harder for us to raise money now given the coronavirus situation,” he says.

A man is now talking incomprehensibly about Priti Patel."

"I will say this: the meeting so far has been pretty orderly with reasonably well informed questions. It has gone completely off the rails in the last five minutes with this particular shareholder.

"“Close the company for 12 months and then start again” he is repeatedly shouting, despite no longer having a microphone. Ah yes, the old frozen computer trick applied to a collapsing mining company."

"Finally the man has sat down, promising to deliver a letter to the company’s board. A new, elderly shareholder has just discovered Anglo American is a UK-headquartered company. “Well, that’s one complaint I don’t have about this deal anymore.”

"Being shafted by a foreign company would just be too much for this chap. Fortunately, this one’s a good old British shafting."

Ed Clowes is cottoning on .. ;-0

"More desperate questions about why Anglo won’t come back with a better offer. Fraser repeating the same points over and over: This isn’t a great offer. It is the only offer. We don’t think Anglo will revise its offer if the deal fails. Why would they?"

"“We all invested for different reasons, but we all had a dream. Some of us wanted to feed the world, others wanted to back a great British success story,” says one shareholder. That might be the first time I’ve heard someone say they invested in a stock to “feed the world.”

“I’m finding it hard to let go,” he continues. “I am emotionally attached to this stock. I don’t want the dream to end.” This is like a breakup. I wasn’t prepared for this kind of emotional labour.

"It’s a horrible, shitty situation. But it is what it is.” The shareholder concludes by asking if Anglo has been playing the long game, waiting for Sirius to run out of money."

"Fraser says seeing the passion of shareholders is the greatest success of his career. He adds that not raising the money is the biggest failure of his career."

“Shit happens,” responds the jolly shareholder."

"Oh dear. Priti Patel man is back on the mic saying he’s going to the Sunday Times with his “letter”. Gutted he hasn’t chosen the Telegraph for that bombshell."

"He’s talking about eating Cadbury’s chocolate, somehow linking it to British Steel, and ending with an inaudible question."

"Remember my name. Ernest Redgrave. Thanks for putting up with me.” *pauses* “More than my wife does.”"

"Vote coming up now (result to come later)"

CF: “We are here because this is the only offer on the table.”
Q4 - Yashmin Ismail, head of the Fund Sirius campaign, asks about the point that Odey made about Anglo not making the proposal finale. Chris: says he doesn’t know it’s a question for Anglo."
"Yashmin: Asking if Anglo could come back with a better offer. Chris saying nope, they can’t come back for a year under takeover rules. Chris saying this isn’t scaremongering - there is no point hypothesising here."
"Q5: How soon would you go into administration? Scrimshaw: Certainly by the end of the month. Says there is no pre-pack administration deal agreed but there have been discussions in case it gets to that point. CF: spoken to various administrators"
"Scrimshaw says they’ve already spoken to Boris - “what we have on the table today comes after all those discussions”. Chris Fraser - says he agrees with all points about why the Gvt should have supported the project."
"ChrisFraser says this was a poster child project that the Government should have supported if it wanted to back the North. This is an excellent point - imo the fact the Gvt didn’t support Sirius or find a compromise way shows the Northern Powerhouse is a v weak concept"
"Q7: Asking if there was a way for Anglo to give an extra bond or way for Anglo to give investors an ongoing stake in the Woodsmith Mine. Scrimshaw - says, again, this is the only offer. Chris Fraser - says all these points are valid points."

Q9: says he will vote for the deal. (No round of applause..) Q10: (God I hope I’ve not missed some questions). Shareholder saying it seems like they need a massive response from national press about necessity to invest in the North. Press and politicians could have strong bearing"

"Q11: another about options available, CF: there aren’t other viable pathways. Nothing else executable, all we have is this proposal from Anglo. As much as everybody at this table agrees the project is worth a lot more the share market was saying it was worth 3p pre-offer"

"Fraser saying he will stay on for another year - it’s key for the company to keep continuity of directors. This was what Anglo was clear about."

"Q12: why didn’t you negotiate for us to get a stock offer for shares in Anglo? CF: this is the offer, Robert Goodwill, the local MP, tried to lobby for that type of offer (as the Mail reported)."

"Gavin asking another question - did any public bank like Barclays back this project? CF: if you read our documents over the years you’ll have seen there were a series of banks engaged who undertook due dil, but it was based on Gvt IPA being on board...

journalists can’t ask questions unfortunately."

"Yashmin asking another q - people have committed to funding via Fund Sirius, says we would certainly support you, we expect dilution but with the uplift when we hit polyhalite, “anything’s possible” to get a lifeline now - we’re very willing to support you... even if we could raise £200m to get us through the next year. Round of applause. Scrimshaw thanks her for her passion, but says in the past when gone back to the market for cash it has not had very much take up from retail shareholders"

"Swiss shareholder is asking another question - it’s the 12th hour, Gina Rinehart is directly involved in the project, could we get something from Gina?"

"Scrimshaw: in terms of Gina, yes we’ve tried to get money from Gina, she is very well-off and very successful but the answer has been no (!). She just has a royalty contracts. I don’t want anybody to think we’ve left any stone unturned here.

"Gina was a very well-known name attached to the project. Latest q: have big shareholders like Jupiter been asked to put more money in? CF: this is the only offer on the table, we’ve had a lot of other talks."

"Scrimshaw says no - there were talks before that, knew it was on Anglo’s radar (but doesn’t appear to mean that Anglo was trying to buy it). CF: first proposal from Anglo was on 6th Jan this year"

"Another shareholder q - is it true lots of bosses have recently got bonuses when we’re running out of cash? CF - we’ve been through a period of uncertainty and we needed to keep those people on board, had we started losing people that could have been a slippery slope"

"CF says there was nothing untoward about this and it was across the company. Says Anglo has put £19m (I think) on one side to buy out staff who have had shares."

"It looks as though the questions are *beginning* to wrap up. Another from the crowd - how many NDAs have been signed? I think it is Gavin. He said a phrase in the City is to never trust a man with a beard. Not sure if this is directed at Fraser..."

"A new question about JP Morgan - are they satisfied about JP Morgan’s objectivity, could anyone question it? Board says no one could question it, they are satisfied with JPM."

"There is a question being billed as *the final question*. It’s about the board - Scrimshaw says two executive directors work for Anglo at the end, everyone else is out of a job if the offer goes through today. Scrimshaw clearly keen to wrap things up."

"Voting is taking place, it’s more of a”put your card in a bag coming round” than a hands up job."

"Scrimshaw has now announced the poll is closed - the result will come out later today (or whenever finished, could be tomorrow technically) through a regulatory news service announcement. Court meeting is now over! "

Via Kelly:

"The man has asked whether key members of the board chief executive Chris Fraser and finance director Thomas Staley will be removed for their ‘incompetence’."

"All the big national newspapers are at the meeting. The Times’s Emily Godson reports how Sirius’ chairman says it is “entirely incorrect” to think that Anglo will come back with a higher offer if the 5.5p-a-share takeover is voted down."

"Russell Scrimshaw has rejected any plans to remove the firm’s senior executives.

He said: No- because they are very capable people. We failed at the last step doing everything we can with some of the best advisors in the world."

"Chief executive Chris Fraser said the board had been clear there was an alternative proposal , which they pushed ‘as hard as they could’ but it couldn’t be implemented and the investor walked away."

"Russell Scrimshaw says Palmer’s claims are “outlandish” and “without fact” and questions what his agenda is."

"Another shareholder, who says he’s an expert in agriculture and agribusiness has said Anglo American should pay as much as 10p a share, rather than the 5.5p offered, as that breaks down to the £1bn already spent on the project.

He adds - Polyhalite is the future, one of the best fertiliser in the world. This is one of the best fertiliser projects in the world - We need to say ‘fair is fair’ here."

"Russell Scrimshaw says there is no chance of an increased offer."

"You’re correct, they have not said it’s final. If Anglo was prepared to make a higher bid, they would have.

It’s not scaremongering. The most likely outcome of this is not approved by shareholders today is the company will be placed in administration."

"Another shareholder said the PM Boris Johnson would look favourably on the project as he ‘wants to support the north’. - It’s not just the company we are talking about , it’s the people of the North east who have an asset under their feet worth billions."

"Chris Fraser puts its pretty blunty when he tells the meeting: - This isn’t a great price but it is the price."

"Russell Scrimshaw has told the meeting ‘the project will go on’

He adds:  There are still huge benefits for the North - it’s the shareholders I think we are concerned about right now."

"The results of the votes in the room will be added to the proxy votes.

We’ve also been told that there won’t be an immediate result and that it could take a few hours to get a final outcome."

"Chris Fraser responds to criticism that the company has stayed ‘silent’

He adds:

During times like this it is important to maintain an informed clear and concise flow of information to shareholders.

There was relentless work going on in the background , but you can’t have those conversations in the public domain as a public company.

Conversations with (investment bank) JP Morgan, also engaging with government at the highest levels."

Meanwile am sat ere freezing me ends off ... time for a cuppa Charlie.

"Chris Fraser responds to Ms Ishmail’s comments:

He said: This is work we’ve done in the past, looking at the potential appetite.

There hasn’t been a retail (individual shareholders’) bond anywhere near the size proposed in the history of retail bonds.

The capacity is simply not there and has never been there."

"An investors has asked what needs to be done for the mine to become operational.

Chris Fraser says Anglo has to spend $3bn on top of the $1.5bn already spent by Sirius.

The project includes is 31km of tunnelling from Whitby to Teesside , two mile-deep shafts,and port facilities. A big old job."

"Still no sign of us going to a vote. Meeting has now reached the two-hour mark. There’ll be a few hangry people in here shortly."

"Russell Scrimshaw responds to the woman’s complaint -  He says:   We’ve talked to every mining company we can think of.   Remember, polyhalite is new. At the moment only one company has agreed to put their balance sheet behind us.

No stone has been left unturned , he added, with Chris Fraser putting his ‘money and his life’ Into the project."

"Russell Scrimshaw said the board felt the same and had ‘hardly slept for months’, trying to pursue different options."

"Russell Scrimshaw said the counting could take ‘some hours’ and results would be published ‘hopefully today’."

A huge Wow to Kelly, Francesca & Ed..

That's the Dog walked ;-)

"The second vote has also been concluded.

It was all pretty swift and had the feeling of a technicality given the proxy votes are the ones that will ultimately hold sway.

The meeting has now concluded after around three hours of at times pretty heated and emotional debate.

Shareholders are making their way out of the meeting and will be awaiting news of the result like the rest of us in coming hours.

We’re checking on how the result will be announced but one assumes it’ll be a technical stock market announcement first.

We’ll bring you the news on here when it drops."

@Kelly ... true Northern Grit.

Everything XXX'd.

Pssst... I can do fractions & a PEST analysis ;-0


Spandau Ballet

Spose you want some entertainment

Apparently .. the name Spandau Ballet was written on a Berlin Wall...

Oh... good old Google:

"They are believed to have chosen the name 'Spandau Ballet' after seeing it scrawled on the wall of a nightclub toilet during a visit to Berlin. The term is thought to refer to the many prisoners who hanged at Spandau - and whose bodies 'twitched and jumped on the end of a rope' as if dancing."

Nothing to do with Spandex


Just thought I'd try and cheer you up ...


I've only ever met one thin Barrister.

Captain Qahn's picture

Northern Echoes

"FORMER shareholders in Sirius Minerals have called for an inquiry after fresh revelations concerning Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.

The Guardian revealed that Mr Jenrick met Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer in March last year in his previous role as exchequer secretary at the Treasury while he was considering a request for support from Sirius.

Mr Ofer is the ultimate owner of rival firm Cleveland Potash, operator of the Boulby mine in east Cleveland, which mines the mineral polyhalite from under the North Sea.

Sirius was building a £2.8bn facility at Sneaton, near Whitby, also with the intention of mining polyhalite – which has uses as a fertiliser and in other industrial applications – along with a processing plant at the Wilton complex on Teesside, bringing 2,000 jobs to the region.

Last year Sirius was left on the brink of financial collapse after failing to secure Government guarantees for up to $3bn worth of bonds intended to provide funding for stage two of the scheme.

It was later bought by the mining firm Anglo American in a cut price deal, virtually wiping out the shareholdings of 85,000 private investors who had invested more than £1bn.

A spokesperson for Mr Jenrick has said that Mr Ofer was a “family friend” and that the minister had notified officials, who advised him to step back from the decision.

Jessie Joe Jacobs, Labour candidate for Tees Valley mayor, said: "I want answers, not just in these decisions about Sirius, but in many other areas. We have a Conservative led Combined Authority that is spending millions and millions every year, investing in various projects with different businesses, people and corporations. I want to be assured they are decisions made for the best of Teesside people, not because it is a friend of a friend at a dinner party. The Labour Party will be scrutinizing every financial decision made by the Conservaitve mayor from the day he came into post, from where he gets his donations from, who funds him to who is and isn't being awarded contracts and given government funds. We will leave no stone unturned.

"Hundreds of small local investors lost a lot of money, some their life savings because of the Sirius Minerals collapse, which Sirius said would not have happened if the government had supported the project. We need a local investigation into the Sirius debacle and the role of the Tees Valley Mayor in this. What was promised by his Government before the Tories turned down a rescue package for the company?

"Robert Jenrick, was overseeing the Sirius deal whilst meeting a “family friend” Idan Ofer. Ofer was the ultimate owner of Cleveland Potash - A rival of Sirius, aiming to grab the same share of the global market for polyhalide fertiliser. At the same time our Tory mayor and independent RCBC council leader told us not to worry, as a deal will be done to save Sirius. A donation to the Tories of £10,000 was made from Ofer to the Tory Party in March, in September, the government chose not to support Sirius. Local investors lost a fortune. It is no surprise they want answers.

"Jenrick is already up to his neck in scandal in a London £1billion housing deal. And this is the thing that angers me the most, there is no levelling up, there is no level playing field, the idea that we are all in this together is a joke. Money talks. Friends in high places help each other. Out of the Britain’s 100 rich list, 1/3 of the are Conservative donors according to the Huffington Post. But it goes beyond this, it is about connections, friendships, schools you went to and clubs you were a part of. Which parties do you attend together, who do you sit next to at a fundraising dinner. Believe me, the Conservatives do not sit next to the likes of you and me. We are not in their club. And we will be watching very very closely."

Carl Quartermain, Labour leader for Redcar and Cleveland, said: "The alleged “cash for favours” scandal surfacing around former Exchequer Secretary Robert Jenrick MP is deeply concerning for local shareholders of the Sirius Mineral, Woodsmith Potash Mine project, many who lost their life savings. We now know Mr. Jenrick was also having meetings with his “family friend” billionaire Idan Ofer, who just happens to be the rival owner of Cleveland Potash, whilst he was considering Sirius’ request for government support. Support that never came which resulted in buy out, stock price collapse and local people losing a fortune.

“How this is not a conflict of interest beggars belief and Boris Johnson needs to recognise that and act accordingly. Let’s not forget, Sirius Minerals were heavily invested and completely committed to this project with construction well underway. They had raised £1.5billion, largely through 85,000 investors, created 1500 jobs with the promise of 1000 new jobs by 2021. They had also provided a community pot of £2m for local projects.

“This project was the poster child for the Northern Powerhouse and Sirius had worked in partnership with this borough for ten years on this project. But when support was needed, Jacob Young MP, Simon Clarke MP and the Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council’s Lib-Indy administration turned their backs. There was no sway or confidence given to steer the government to provide the loan guarantee that would have saved Sirius. Had they done so, Sirius could have secured $2.5bn, protected local shareholder’s investment and provided stability to the workforce. In light of these new revelations, questions need to be raised as to why Jenrick did not declare his close relationship with the rival Potash business owner.”

Councillor Mary Lanigan, Leader of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “We clearly can not comment on allegations of what may or may not have been said in a private conversation made two years ago of which we have no knowledge. However, to speak generally, we are a very business-friendly borough and are always open to talk openly and within the rules to businesses and anyone else with a view to encouraging investment in our area which has some world class facilities and opportunities.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen declined to comment on the issues raised by The Guardian."

"Gary Numan will be performing at Teesside Airport on August 23 for a ‘drive in’ concert."


Broomsticks....  AKA absolute 'boll*x' :-

"The operators of the Boulby Potash Mine suffered a £161m loss during a traumatic year that saw an explosion, a flood and an underground fire.

In 2016 the mine suffered from a spate of disasters, including a gas blow-out that led to the death of miner John “Ritchie” Anderson in June, as well as a fire that injured 11 members of staff."

Sirius shareholders also voted at an AGM ~(2018?) to approve £500k for political purposes.

Ah, So ...

"Paul Anscombe, chairman of the Sirius claim group, which is considering legal action on behalf of shareholders, said: “We would like to see a proper select [committee] inquiry into the process of Government support for Sirius Minerals and their application that also may explain the Jenrick issue.”

Mr Anscombe said he did not believe that Mr Jenrick’s involvement was a “big smoking gun”, but said it was an opportunity again to highlight shareholders’ concerns about what had occurred.

He said: “What we have never had is answers over what happened with that Government guarantee because somewhere something went wrong.

“Sirius either got turned down by the Government or they walked away without completing the process properly.

“No company walks away from a Government underwritten set of bonds without good cause and we as investors need to find out what that reason was, and it would be in the public interest to do so.

“If that [the Government support] had happened, the share price would have rocketed, the mine would have been built and everybody would have been happy.

“The Government did not have to put the money up, they were just acting as guarantors for the bonds, that’s all.”"

Ooops (it was £300k)


Big Ears.