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First Quantum believes hostile bid for Inmet likely to succeed

13th March 2013

By: Henry Lazenby

Creamer Media Deputy Editor: North America

  

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TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Base-metals miner First Quantum Minerals on Tuesday said it expected to close its C$5.1-billion hostile takeover bid for Inmet Mining on March 21, after unveiling Inmet shareholders had tendered about 61.45% of the company’s outstanding shares to the offer as on Monday at 23:59 Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

First Quantum on Tuesday changed the cash-and-stock offer to allow the minimum tender condition to be satisfied when more than 50% of the outstanding Inmet shares (on a fully diluted basis) had been validly deposited, before the newly extended expiry time of the offer closed at 23:59 EDT on March 21.

"We are delighted with the overwhelming support that Inmet shareholders have shown for our offer. We have varied our offer such that the minimum tender condition will now be satisfied if more than 50% of the Inmet shares have been tendered at the revised expiry time of the offer.

“Accordingly, with all regulatory approvals already received, it is our expectation that we will be in a position to complete the offer and begin taking up and paying for shares shortly, following the expiry of the offer on March 21,” First Quantum chairperson and CEO Philip Pascall said.

First Quantum, which has a portfolio of copper and nickel assets in Africa, Australia and Europe, on Tuesday reiterated this was its best and final offer.

The company said it expected more than two-thirds of Inmet shares to be tendered, which would trigger a subsequent acquisition transaction to acquire the balance of the Inmet shares not deposited under the offer. However, it warned such a transaction could take months to execute, and shareholders were urged to tender outstanding shares under the offer to avoid payment delays.

Under terms of the takeover, outlined in December, Inmet shareholders would be paid up to C$72 a share or in First Quantum shares, or a combination of cash and shares. First Quantum in October put forward a bid of C$62.50, and in November raised it to C$70 a share.

Inmet had repeatedly advised shareholders to reject the unsolicited offer, saying the offer undervalued the company, which is constructing the giant $6.2-billion Cobre Panama copper/gold project, in Panama. First Quantum said it was “excited” at the prospect of being able to apply First Quantum's experience and unique skills to Cobre Panama as soon as possible. The mine was expected to drive a 176% increase in Inmet's copper production by 2018.

The miner has been attempting to sell a minority stake in Cobre Panama to increase its value and place it in a better position to negotiate.

First Quantum recently said the company had alternatives, and would continue to pursue development assets where it can leverage its capabilities "of developing projects more efficiently and at a lower cost" than rivals, should the takeover offer fail.

Inmet in December said it had increased the proven and probable reserves at its 80%-owned Cobre Panama project by 27%.

The additional mineral reserves from the Balboa, Brazo and Botija Abajo deposits increased Cobre Panama's total estimated contained copper to about 26-billion pounds. The estimated contained gold had also increased by 41%, to about 7.3-million ounces.

Toronto-based Inmet had recently reached a $150-million commercial agreement with Panama-focused miner Petaquilla Minerals. Under a binding term sheet, the two companies with projects situated next to each other, have resolved a number of issues related to aggregate procurement, land access and use, settlement of certain claims, waiving of royalties to be received by Inmet, and camp site procurement for the mutual benefit of Inmet subsidiary Minera Panama’s and Petaquilla's mining operations, in the district of Donoso, Panama.

First Quantum had a market capitalisation of C$9.85-billion and its TSX-listed shares on Tuesday traded at C$20.69 apiece. Inmet had a market capitalisation of C$4.85-billion and its shares changed hands at C$69.98 apiece on the Toronto bourse on Tuesday.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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