Andrew Forrest ups stake in takeover target Western Areas

Headshot of Sean Smith
Sean SmithThe West Australian
Andrew Forrest.
Camera IconAndrew Forrest. Credit: Cheyanne Enciso/Midwest Times

Andrew Forrest has outlaid $31.4 million to increase his stake in takeover play Western Areas, keeping investors guessing about his intentions.

A notice with the Australian Securities Exchange on Tuesday shows Mr Forrest’s unlisted Wyloo Holdings bought another 9.2 million shares in Western Areas on Friday and Monday to lift its holding to 9.1 per cent.

Western Areas last month agreed a $1.1 billion cash bid by fellow WA miner IGO, which has sought to restock its nickel pipeline as part of an aggressive expansion into battery metals.

Wyloo is considered a rival bidder for Western Areas, particularly given Mr Forrest’s keen interest in the clean energy transition and the metals seen as driving new energy sources.

However, he has yet to declare his hand on Western Areas, which owns WA’s Odysseus nickel project.

Wyloo is fresh from seemingly winning a $670m bidding war with BHP for Canada’s Noront Resources and its Eagle’s Nest nickel project in the Ring of Fire.

Investors recognised the prospect of a possible counter bid by Wyloo by holding Western Areas shares unchanged at $3.45 - compared to IGO’s offer price of $3.36 - on a day when the broader Australian share market plunged nearly 2.5 per cent.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Forrest’s family investment company Tattarang disclosed it had offloaded more of its holding in Poseidon Nickel, halving its remaining 10 per cent stake. The sale of the 158.3m shares realised $17.7m.

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