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Buyout group makes $5.5 billion final bid for KAZ Minerals

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(Reuters) -A consortium aiming to take copper miner KAZ Minerals private has increased its bid by 9% to 4.02 billion pounds ($5.5 billion) after minority shareholders indicated they would reject earlier proposals for being too low.

Nova Resources, led by KAZ Minerals chairman Oleg Novachuk and Kazakh billionaire Vladimir Kim, has offered shareholders 850 pence in cash per share, up from an earlier offer of 780 pence, it said in a statement.

Including a special dividend, the offer - which Nova said was its final bid - totals 869 pence per share.

KAZ's share price was up 3% at the open in London.

This is the second increase to the original October offer by the group, after minority shareholders including RWC Partners and Russia-based CFC Management, indicated they would vote against the proposals because of a strong rise in copper prices.

"We continue to believe the KAZ business is worth at least our 920 pence target price, but the increased offer is likely to test shareholder resolve to hold out further," Peel Hunt analysts said in a note.

Under UK takeover rules, the group had until today to revise the bid. If accepted, the offer will put an end to the company's 16-year listing on the London stock market.

The consortium said on Friday that a high-risk strategy required a number of years of heavy capital investment with curtailed prospects for a reliable dividend stream.

KAZ Minerals bought the Baimskaya mine, a big copper deposit in eastern Russia, in 2018 from a group of investors including Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich for around $1 billion.

The company's share price plunged immediately after the announcement of this acquisition, hit by investor concern over Russian political risk, even though the mine is regarded as one of the world's most significant underdeveloped copper prospects.

Shareholders have until April 9 to accept the offer.

($1 = 0.7274 pounds)

(Reporting by Clara Denina in London and Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Mark Potter)