Teck Resources withdraws plan to split as Glencore circles miner
Teck Resources has withdrawn its plan to split in two, a surprise development just ahead of a key shareholder vote, as the miner sought to fend off an £18.1bn takeover attempt from Glencore.
Vancouver-based Teck’s share price in Toronto rose as much as six per cent after the announcement yesterday.
For weeks, Teck had said its plan to separate its copper and coal businesses was a better option for shareholders than Swiss miner and trader Glencore’s unsolicited bid, the latest in a wave of mining industry buyout offers fueled by demand for copper and other metals needed for the green energy transition.
While several prominent Teck shareholders had publicly supported the separation, the company could not convince the needed two-thirds of shareholders. Many investors worried the split would be unnecessarily complex, especially given a plan for the coal business to pay a royalty to the copper business.
Shareholders “would like to see a simpler and more direct separation, and that’s exactly what we will now go away and study,” chief executive Jonathan Price said on a Wednesday conference call.
“We’ll look at a range of alternatives there with the focus on maximising shareholder value and work through those details.”
Price again repeated his objection to Glencore’s bid, saying he “will not engage in something that is a distraction.”
He declined to say when he would propose a new restructuring plan to Teck shareholders.
Glencore declined to comment on Teck’s move to call off its planned separation. Its chief executive, Gary Nagle, last week had enticed Teck shareholders with the promise of a sweeter bid that has yet to come.
“This was a close call and can’t say we are shocked,” said Peter Letko, founding partner of Montreal based investment firm Letko Brosseau, which holds a 0.7 per cent stake in Teck and voted in favor of the split.
Glencore’s plan would combine and spin off its thermal coal unit and Teck’s steelmaking coal business, while rebranding the rest of the operations as GlenTeck.
“The pressure for Glencore to make a very significant increase in offer terms is lower now as a result of today’s developments at Teck,” said Chris LaFemina, an analyst at Jefferies.
“There are still many obstacles to Glencore getting a takeover of Teck across the finish line (controlling shareholders, Canadian authorities, antitrust), but Glencore is now one step closer to success,” LaFemina added.
Todd Kapala of Addenda Capital, which holds a 0.7 per cent stake in Teck and voted in favor of the split, said he would now like to see Price’s revised plan.
“We are also watching what could the other offers look like,” Kapala said.
At Teck’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, 98 per cent of shareholders voted in favour of amending the company’s dual class structure, which would end special voting rights of class A shareholders at the sixth year of amending this clause.
“There is no question in anyone’s mind about the incredible value creation to be unlocked… with right steps and right timing.” said Teck Chairman Emeritus Norman B Keevil.
On Monday, Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s deputy prime minister, said Teck should remain headquartered in her country, the clearest indication to date that Ottawa is closely watching the takeover battle.
Reuters – Mrinalika Roy