Shares in Central Rand Gold has cast doubt over the potential sale of its Dutch subsidiary, warning it remained "cautious" about a deal being completed.
Shares in the London- and Johannesburg-listed gold explorer plunged over 20% early on Thursday after it said it had not yet reached an agreement with Huili Resources Ltd and Hiria Group, the two companies in the frame to acquire its Dutch subsidiary, which owns a number of assets in South Africa.
Central Rand has already extended the deadline to complete the deal twice, to allow both Huili and Hiria to complete outstanding due diligence processes and advance commercial talks to present a formal offer to shareholders.
However, when the last deadline expired on Wednesday the group did not specify whether it had been extended again.
"Since the announcement dated June 15, 2015, the company has worked closely with both Huili and Hiria to finalise their respective due diligence processes," the company said on Thursday.
"The company has worked closely with Hiria over the past four weeks to resolve both technical due diligence and commercial items. Central Rand Gold has been impressed by the level of engagement."
Central Rand added negotiations with Hiria were now "substantively focused on commercial and structural issues", and negotiations will continue until "an outcome which can be presented to shareholders is reached."
However, the mining company said it was also discussing "structural alternatives" with the potential buyer and its financial partner Hangzhou Everbright Private Equity Investment Management.
In a regulatory statement, the group indicated the potential alternatives would include a "strategic investment" in the company, rather than the acquisition of the subsidiary as originally planned.
The South Africa-focused miner added that Huili Resources has the right of first purchase within 21 days of a third party offer being received for the Dutch subsidiary, although the ongoing negotiations with Hiria seem to indicate that a separate deal could be agreed should the company exercise its right to purchase the subsidiary.
Talks with Huili Resources are now focused on technical due diligence aspects relative to the future dewatering of the Central Basin in South Africa, Central rand said.
"The discussions continue to progress towards completion and the company will advise shareholders once a resolution is achieved," the group added.
"The board cautions that at this time there can be no certainty that the discussions with both Huili or Hiria will lead to a binding agreement being entered into by either party, nor that the potential sale of Central Rand Gold (Netherlands Antilles) N.V., or any other transaction will be completed."
Central Rand shares
were down 24.87% to 14.65p at 09:47 on Thursday.