Consortium of Canadian investors plans to bid for Teck Resources coal business
A consortium of investors led by Canadian mining industry veteran Pierre Lassonde has made an offer to acquire Teck Resources metallurgical coal operations, a move that would thwart Glencore’s $23 billion for the Canadian company.
Teck has so far fended off Glencore's offer to combine the two companies and is instead pursing plans to separate its copper and coal business. However, Teck pulled its initial business separation plan after failing to secure enough shareholder support. Lassonde said that a separation of the coal and copper business can be done in different forms and does not necessarily have to be a cash purchase.
“We have put forward one model for this, they (Teck) said they like what they see but we don't know what others have offered,” Lassonde told Reuters.
The Financial Times reported that Teck’s coal business was valued at $11.5 billion in a recent in which Teck sold a 10 percent stake in the unit to Nippon Steel, which is also a customer for its metallurgical coal.
Lassonde, a Canadian citizen, has been critical of foreign companies entering the country’s mining sector. In April, he said he was leading a consortium that would take a stake of up to 20 per cent in Teck’s coal business, after it split out from the metals business. Now that the separation plans are on ice, he is bidding to acquire the entire coal unit instead.
Glencore has offered a cash component for Teck's coal business worth C$8 billion ($5.98 billion). When asked how the deal would be financed, Lassonde said there is no shortage of billionaires in Canada who would come together to ensure that Teck remains a Canadian enterprise.
"There is no shortage of Canadian money to get the deal done," he said.
Canadian government officials have said that Glencore's proposed offer would receive tough scrutiny, and it has faced opposition from some business lobby groups and opposition Conservative leaders. Canada Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland of the Liberal Party in April said that companies such as Teck should remain in Canada.
Glencore said on April 27 that its takeover bid still stands, adding it was willing to engage with Teck's board to improve its proposal structure, but would still make an offer directly to shareholders if there was no response.
A source close to the matter said that an alternative offer for Teck's steelmaking coal business might push the Swiss conglomerate to finally make an improved offer.