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It’s official: Arrium Ltd enters voluntary administration

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Junior iron ore miner and steelmaker Arrium Ltd (ASX: ARI) has officially entered into voluntary administration, ending an extended period of uncertainty for all of its stakeholders.

Like many others in the sector, Arrium has struggled to adjust to the harsher environment dominated by plunging iron ore prices. Unfortunately, its efforts to improve efficiencies and to remove unnecessary costs from the business proved not enough, with the miner’s lenders ultimately forcing Arrium’s hand.

As of 31 December 2015, Arrium had more than $2.4 billion of interest bearing loans against its name, with almost $2.1 billion of that being bank loans. By comparison, it had just $303.6 million of cash and cash equivalents.

In an update this morning, investors were told that insolvency specialist Grant Thornton has been called in. Arrium will continue to operate on a “business as usual” basis while Grant Thornton undertakes a thorough review of the company. It is believed that the company’s international operations, principally the Moly-Cop business, should be largely unaffected.

The decision comes after Arrium’s various lenders, including each of the big four banks, rejected a recapitalisation plan from GSO Capital Partners, which would have required them to take a significant haircut on the monies owed to them.

In a regulatory filing, Arrium said: “After considering the available alternatives, in the current circumstances it has become clear to the board of Arrium that it has, unfortunately, been left with no option other than to place the Relevant Companies into voluntary administration in order to protect the interests of stakeholders.”

Of course, many investors will note that the iron ore price has rebounded in recent months and is currently fetching US$54.75 a tonne, according to The Metal Bulletin. Unfortunately, it is expected to retreat again in the near future, which puts other mining businesses such as BC Iron Limited (ASX: BCI) and Mount Gibson Iron Limited (ASX: MGX) at risk, as well.

Considering the high level of volatility and uncertainty facing the resources sector right now, investors would be wise to focus their attention elsewhere. For instance, The Motley Fool's renowned dividend investing guru recently revealed his newest dividend buy recommendation and short list of 3 Best Dividend Buys Now. Which means if you're reading this message right now, you're not on the list to uncover their names before they potentially go gangbusters. Simply click here to learn more about these shares.

Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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