Chile thaws as Anglo agrees to sell Sur stake

Marion Dakers
ANGLO American has defused its months-long fight with Chile’s state copper miner by agreeing to sell more than a quarter of its prized AA Sur assets.

Chilean miner Codelco has dropped the threat of legal action after agreeing to take a 29.5 per cent holding in the site, which includes the lucrative Los Bronces mine.

The stake is smaller than the 49 per cent Codelco tried to buy using a longstanding option in October, but at a discounted price to its market value.

The deal brings to an end a dispute over the AA Sur assets, sparked when Anglo sold a stake in the mines to Mitsubishi at a hefty premium late last year, scuppering Codelco’s attempts to use the option it had held since 1978.

Under yesterday’s agreement, Anglo will cut its 75.5 per cent stake to 50.1 per cent, while Mitsubishi will reduce its holding from 24.5 to 20.4 per cent.

This allows Codelco and its joint venture partner Mitsui to buy a 29.5 per cent stake in a sale worth $2.8bn (£1.76bn).

Executives trumpeted the deal, reached just a day before the firms’ self-imposed deadline, as beneficial to all sides.

Anglo American chief executive Cynthia Carroll said the firms have “gained significant value for our shareholders and other stakeholders”.

Chile will reap some $1.3bn in tax from the deal, according to Codelco.