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Chile court rejects Codelco bid to freeze Anglo's dividends
April 26, 2012

The legal dispute between Anglo American and Codelco took another turn when Chile’s 14th civil court rejected a bid by state copper giant Codelco to freeze some dividends from global miner Anglo American’s south central Chile assets, helping clear some shareholder uncertainty in a dispute seen dragging on for years.

The dispute between the mining giants began win Anglo American preemptively sold 24.5 percent of its disputed south-central Chilean assets from under world top copper producer Codelco, stymieing its bid to exercise an option to buy up a 49 percent stake in the proprieties, Reuters reported.

Santiago's 14th civil court said it could not justify imposing an embargo on Anglo. The UK-listed miner said the court had turned down the request that 49 percent of dividends from its Chilean assets be retained in escrow.

Codelco estimates the legal battle could drag on for up to four years.

"It is not proven that the defendant lacks sufficient assets to respond in the face of an unfavorable verdict or that there is a rational reason to think it would seek to hide those possessions," Judge Luis Correa of Santiago's 14th civil court said.

Anglo argues it was entitled to sell a share in the assets to Japan's Mitsubishi before Codelco's window to exercise the option in January, while the state miner says Anglo violated the Chilean legal principle of good faith by selling the stake.