Teck Resources (TSX: TECK.A, TECK.B)(NYSE: TECK) is said to have been approached by Vale (NYSE: VALE), Anglo American (LON: AAL) and Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE: FCX) on potential deals for the Canadian miner’s base metals business if shareholder approve a planned split.
The three global miners are among at least six companies that have expressed interests in transactions with Teck post-split, local paper The Globe and Mail reported on Sunday, citing sources close to the matter.
The Vancouver-based company, which is Canada’s largest diversified miner, proposed in February spinning off its steelmaking coal business to focus on base metals, particularly copper and zinc.
A few weeks alter, Swiss commodity trader and mining company Glencore Plc (LON: GLEN) launched a hostile $23.1 billion takeover of Teck, which has been sweetened since then to entice Teck’s shareholders initially opposed to the idea of being exposed to a larger coal portfolio.
The revised proposal gives Teck’s shareholders who do not want to own shares in the combined coal operation the option to receive cash plus 24% of the combined metals-focused business.
On Sunday, former chairman Norman Keevil, whose family controls Teck through its ownership of the majority of the company's 'A' class of shares, reiterated his arguments against the takeover.
“As there has been much media commentary regarding my views on the future of Teck, I would like to provide a clear statement of my perspective,” he said.
“My colleagues and I are proud of what we achieved through 30 years of building Teck, growing the company 500-fold from a $25 million market cap to $12.6 billion, with double-digit compounded growth in shareholder value, and continuing growth in recent years to $25 billion today,” he added.
Keevil clarify he would support a transaction — be an operating partnership, merger, acquisition, or sale – with the “right partner”, on the “right terms” for Teck Metals after separation.
Teck’s chairman emeritus added that Glencore's proposal was "the wrong one, as well as at the wrong time" and the split should go ahead.
With just over a week left on the clock for Teck’s shareholders to vote on the split, Glencore is trying its best to persuade the Canadian miner’s shareholders. Last week, chief executive Gary Nagle landed in Toronto to personally explain his company’s vision and intentions.
By Friday evening, two influential shareholder advisory firms had recommended against Teck’s strategy, while its largest investor, China Investment Corp., said it favoured Glencore’s proposal.
Experts had anticipated that the company’s decision to split the business in two would make Teck Metals a takeover target. The company owns four copper mines in South America and Canada, which produced 270,000 tonnes combined last year.
Teck also expects to double copper output after the second phase of its Quebrada Blanca (QB) project in Chile ramps up to full capacity by the end of 2023.
Glencore believes that operating Quebrada Blanca jointly with the nearby Collahuasi mine, in which the Swiss multinational holds a 44% stake, would add at least a $1 billion of value to its coffers.
The idea, Glencore has explained, is that QB and Collahuasi share infrastructure rather than creating a single operation. The latter would require approval from Anglo American (LON: AAL), which has 44% of Collahuasi and Sumitomo, which holds a 30% indirect interest in the Chilean copper mine.
Top miners, in turn, are hungry for copper assets as demand for the metal accelerates and a global shortfall looms. BHP, Rio Tinto and Glencore itself have disclosed that they are actively looking to grow their copper exposure.