Gold price hike freezes Vietnamese real estate market

Section:

By Rachelle Younglai
Reuters
Friday, November 25, 2005

http://yahoo.reuters.com/financeQuoteCompanyNewsArticle.jhtml?
duid=mtfh05532_2005-11-25_23-42-54_n25615088_newsml

TORONTO -- Placer Dome Inc.'s chief executive has gone on the
offensive, hitting the road for face-to-face meetings with
shareholders and urging them to reject a hostile $9.2 billion bid
from Barrick Gold Corp.

"It's fair to say that the shareholders that we have seen are very
interested in what we've got to say and have been very supportive,"
CEO Peter Tomsett told Reuters late on Friday, after meeting with
investors for the past 2-1/2 days.

"By and large, they think this offer is very low."

This week, Placer rejected the takeover offer from Barrick, Canada's
biggest gold miner, calling it opportunistic and financially
inadequate.

Since then, Tomsett has met with Placer Dome stakeholders in
Montreal and Toronto and is getting ready to hit major financial
centers in the United States next week.

The company is also advertising, and on Friday took out substantial
ads in Canada's two national newspapers and one in a local Vancouver
paper urging shareholders to reject the bid.

Placer Dome, the country's second biggest gold producer with 16
mines worldwide, has established a data room to give other companies
a chance to examine confidential information.

"There's a lot of interest. We've got a great group of assets that
people are very interested in. Barrick obviously is very interested
in them as well," Tomsett said.

On Oct. 31, Barrick bid $20.50 for each Placer Dome share, with
about 87 percent offered in Barrick shares and 13 percent in cash.

"What we are in the process of doing now is reviewing all strategic
alternatives. Clearly there's a high likelihood of a higher bid from
Barrick because certainly the one they have on the table now is
totally inadequate," said Tomsett.

"You look at the facts and it looks like they need us, so if they
need us, they will need to come back ... and if it's one of the
alternatives that we think is worth looking at, then we'll look at
it."

Barrick has said it will not sweeten its bid and calls the offer
full and fair.

Desjardins Securities analyst Michael Fowler has said he believes
that an increased bid from Barrick is likely, while other analysts
point to the world's biggest gold producer, U.S.-based Newmont
Mining Corp. as Placer Dome's white knight.

"In the end, we still believe there is a high likelihood of a
competing offer and that Newmont remains a leading contender,"
Scotia Capital analyst Michael Durose said in a note to clients.
Durose increased its target price on Placer Dome's U.S. stock to $25
from $19.50.

For the 47-year old Tomsett, who has worked at Placer Dome for
nearly 20 years, defending his company from a hostile bid is an
about-face.

"It's fair to say it's more fun being on the other side," he
said. "It's something that's a distraction from our strategy, we had
a lot of good things going on and this is causing our shareholders a
lot of cost and distraction."

Tomsett joined Placer in 1986 as a mining engineer in Australia and
became the company's chief executive in September 2004.

Shares of Placer Dome closed up 34 cents at $21.95 on the New York
Stock Exchange. Barrick rose 29 cents to $27.43. On the Toronto
Stock Exchange, Placer rose 19 Canadian cents to C$25.59 and Barrick
was unchanged at C$31.90.

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