ASX 200 drops, Spark jumps, Nickel Mines sinks

The Spark share price was a highlight as the ASX 200 fell.

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The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) fell by around 0.7% today to 7,379 points.

Here are some of the highlights from the ASX today:

Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX: SKI)

The Spark share price rose by over 5% today after there was a higher bid on the table for the business from a consortium that included the private equity business KKR.

Spark said that it has received an all-cash bid of $2.95 per share (less distributions paid). Following the announcement of the Spark distribution of $0.0625 per share, the implied consideration is $2.8875 per share.

This revised proposal represents a 26% premium to the ‘undisturbed’ price of $2.30 per share.

This offer came after Spark gave the consortium limited information about its business and prospects.

The board has decided it’s in the interests of Spark shareholders to engage further with the consortium. The consortium has been granted due diligence on a non-exclusive basis.

But, the board noted there is no certainty that this will result in a takeover. The board also pointed out the positive outlook for the business.

It was one of the top performers in the ASX 200 today.

Nickel Mines Ltd (ASX: NIC)

The Nickel Mines share price fell 11% today after the business provided a quarterly update.

Nickel Mines said that there was RKEF (rotary kiln electric furnace) production of 10,143 tonnes of nickel metal (100% basis), up 0.7% from the quarter ending 31 March 2021. The company’s attributable nickel production was 8,114 tonnes.

On a 100% basis, there was 10,736 nickel tonnes sold, up 4.7% from what was sold in the last quarter.

RKEF quarterly sales amounted to US$150.2 million, up 8.7% from the quarter ended 31 March 2021. The RKEF quarterly earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was US$50.8 million, up 0.2% from the last quarter.

Nickel Mines said that the underlying free cash flow from operations was US$57.7 million, up 15.4% from US$50 million.

The business said that its cash, receivables and inventory at the end of the quarter was a combined US$363.5 million – up 31%.

The ASX 200 share also said that the Angel Nickel project construction is on schedule for commissioning in the second half of 2022, which will more than double nameplate nickel production.

Eagers Automotive Ltd (ASX: APE)

The Eagers Automotive share price went up around 2% today after the car dealership business gave a trading update.

It said it expects to record an underlying operating profit before tax from continuing operations for the six months to 30 June 2021 of approximately $218.6 million. This compares to $40.3 million for the first six months of 2020 (which was impacted by COVID-19).

Statutory profit before tax from continuing operations is expected to be $267.4 million.

Eagers Automotive said that the new car market continues to rebound from the initial onset of COVID-19 with a 28.3% increase in the new car market compared to the prior corresponding period. The ASX 200 company said that these market dynamics are further buoyed by demand continuing to materially outstrip supply.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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