TORONTO – On Tuesday July 4 (Independence Day for some), the European Commission gave its clearance for the pending acquisition of FALCONBRIDGE LTD. by INCO LTD., both of Toronto. By agreeing to sell (to LIONORE MINING INTERNATIONAL) Falconbridge’s Nikkelverk refinery in Norway and the Falconbridge marketing and custom feed organizations, plus obtaining third-party feeds for Nikkelverk including up to 60,000 tonnes of nickel in matte annually, Inco has satisfied the final outstanding regulatory condition to the acquisition. The U.S. Department of Justice had already agreed to the same remedy.
Not surprisingly, Inco is urging Falconbridge shareholders to tender their shares to Inco’s enhanced June 26 offer.
The rival suitor for Falconbridge seems to be mired in regulatory problems. Also on July 4, XSTRATA PLC of Zug, Switzerland, was informed by the Investment Review Division of Industry Canada that the minister responsible for the Investment Canada Act could not complete the consideration of Xstrata’s proposal to acquire Falconbridge within the initial 45-day period. The review period has been extended another 30 days from July 3, 2006.
On the previous Friday (June 30), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice had dismissed an application filed by Xstrata alleging violations to the Ontario Business Corporations Act by Falconbridge. In effect, the court upheld Falconbridge’s decision to hold its annual general meeting no later than October 9, 2006, in accordance with the provisions of the rules of the TSX.