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Chinese investment giant Fosun has launched a bidding war for Gemfields, the Aim-listed producer of rubies and emeralds. 

Fosun has offered to pay 40.85p a share for Gemfields, a 15pc premium to the miner’s closing price yesterday, and a 10pc premium to an earlier offer from South African group Pallinghurst. 

The Chinese company said its offer, which values Gemfields at around £224m, was a “compelling cash alternative at a significant premium to the Pallinghurst offer”. 

Gemfields shares soared more than 10pc in early trade to 39p.

Pallinghurst, an investment fund set up by former BHP Billiton boss Brian Gilbertson, already owns 47pc of Gemfields. It outraged minority shareholders last month with a nil-premium bid for the rest of the company, blaming the Gemfields' poor returns for wanting to take it private. Pallinghurst claimed to have support from holders of 75pc of the shares to delist. 

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