Avoca Resources' controlling shareholder Pala Investments has sparked renewed speculation that Integra Mining is poised to receive a takeover bid after boosting its stake in the emerging gold producer to 10.6 per cent.
Pala, which owns 22.5 per cent of Avoca and already holds about 6 per cent in Integra, yesterday morning bought Rand Merchant Bank's 4.8 per cent block at 29¢ per Integra share.
The pre-trade block crossing worth $8.3 million sparked a trading frenzy in Integra's stock sending its share price soaring 12.3 per cent to 32¢. More than 39 million shares, or 7.1 per cent of Integra's issued capital, changed hands.
Pala last night confirmed that it was behind the Integra stock acquisition.
The Swiss-based investor holds some of its Integra stake in its own name but also controls shares held in various nominee accounts, including UBS Nominees. UBS Nominees declared last week that it had boosted its Integra stake from 6.4 per cent to 10.3 per cent.
Pala's managing director Jan Castro is in Perth to attend the annual meeting of Avoca, on whose board he sits as a non-executive director.
Some analysts have said that Pala is driving Avoca's growth-through-acquisition strategy and wanted to move on Integra before Integra starts the $64 million development of its flagship Randalls project.
Avoca's acquisition strategy got off to a bad start with the failed takeover of Dioro Exploration earlier this year. Avoca only secured 44.8 per cent of Dioro.
Rival Dioro suitor Ramelius Resources sits on 31.7 per cent ahead of its takeover bid's deadline next week.
The trading coincided with another sharp spike in the price of gold.