Equinox plans copper giant with £3bn bid

Marion Dakers
COPPER miner Equinox has made a C$4.8bn (£3.04bn) hostile bid for Lundin Mining, in a move that could create one of the biggest copper-focused miners in the world.

Equinox, which is listed in Australia and Toronto, is hoping to break up a nil-premium merger between Lundin and Inmet Mining to ramp up its own exposure to copper prices, which rose more than a third on the London market during 2010.

“We are building a hugely attractive copper company,” Equinox chief operating officer Cobb Johnstone told City A.M. “It gives us a very strong production profile immediately… and the growth profile is very low risk as it comes from projects that are already in construction.”

Johnstone added that the deal, if accepted by Lundin and Equinox investors, would put the combined firm in the top five copper-driven companies worldwide.

Lundin shareholders can take either C$8.10 in cash or Equinox shares, representing a 26 per cent premium to last week’s closing price.

But Lundin would also have to pay C$120m in break fees if it walked away from its C$9bn merger with Inmet, which was agreed in January.

Equinox owns Africa’s third-biggest copper mine by production, the Lumwana facility in Zambia, while Toronto-listed Lundin operates copper, zinc and nickel mines in Europe and has a minority stake in a copper-cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.