Major investor to exit BC Iron

A DAY after hitting the highest share price in its six-year history, BC Iron has been rocked by confirmation that its second-biggest shareholder has begun selling down its 20 per cent stake.

A DAY after hitting the highest share price in its six-year history, BC Iron has been rocked by confirmation that its second-biggest shareholder has begun selling down its 20 per cent stake.

Hong Kong investor Regent Pacific has confirmed it will ask its shareholders for permission to sell its $82 million stake in BC Iron.

While there is no guarantee the stake will be sold, Regent Pacific shareholders will vote next month to give the company a "mandate" to start disposing of its BC Iron shares.

The move comes 18 months after Regent tried to take over the Pilbara junior, only to be thwarted by BC Iron's other major shareholder, Consolidated Minerals.

The first hint of Regent's departure came when it chose not to participate in a share purchase plan announced by BC Iron this month, and its exit from the stock now appears imminent.

In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange, Regent said now was the time to quit the stock, given its strong value on the back of a good year and a recent deal with Fortescue Metals.

The news ends a remarkable winning streak for BC Iron, which has thrived during an otherwise turbulent year for iron ore stocks.

BC Iron was set to be the only iron ore pure play to finish the year with a higher share price than at the start, until Fortescue shares started an amazing spurt on December 5.

Even allowing for Fortescue's recent rise, BC Iron has dramatically outperformed the rest of the sector this year.

BC Iron shares hit a record $3.42 on Tuesday, but slid back 12ยข to $3.30 on Wednesday after the Regent decision was announced.

BC Iron stressed that Regent may choose not to sell its shares, and chairman Tony Kiernan said the two companies had enjoyed a solid partnership.

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