$1.5bn demerger loan for Gold Fields

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GOLD FIELDS-South Independent Newspapers

Barclays, Credit Suisse and JP Morgan have underwritten a $1.5 billion financing package to back South African mining company Gold Fields' demerger of two gold mines and refinance existing Gold Fields debt, bankers said on Monday.

The three banks have opened a $900 million loan to participation by other banks and will hold the remaining $600 million as a bridge loan to a planned bond issue, the bankers said.

Gold Fields, the world's fourth-biggest gold producer, is spinning off two mines into a new company - Sibanye Gold Ltd - as strikes and above-inflation pay gains boost costs and cut output for South African mining companies.

Sibanye Gold will be traded in Johannesburg and New York from February 2013. It will manage the Kloof-Driefontein Complex, Africa's largest gold operation, and the Beatrix mines, which have relatively short operating lives and require a different management approach, bankers said.

Gold Fields' demerger follows strikes that began in South Africa's platinum industry and spread to gold, iron-ore, coal and diamond mining. About 29,000 Gold Fields staff went on strike in the last three months, and won pay gains that added to rising power costs and capital spending.

The demerger is part of a new approach aimed at stopping the decline in production and increase in costs.

The $900 million loan, which is being syndicated to banks, consists of a $450 million, three-year term loan and a $450 million, five-year revolving credit. The $600 million bridge loan to a bond issue has a 21-month maturity.

Barclays is acting as co-ordinator and was also the adviser on the $1.5 billion financing package.

A separate 6 billion rand ($676 million) loan is being arranged for Sibanye with a handful of lenders and will not be syndicated, the bankers said.

A bank meeting will not be held as Gold Fields recently redefined its group of relationship banks.

The company signed a $500 million revolving credit facility in May, which was arranged by mandated lead arrangers, bookrunners and co-ordinaters Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Commonwealth Bank of Australia. -Reuters


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