BUSINESS

Inmet to waive shareholder rights plan ahead of First Quantum takeover deadline

02/19/2013 03:32 EST | Updated 04/21/2013 05:12 EDT
Inmet Mining Corp. will waive application of a shareholder rights plan that was supposed to take effect hours before the Feb. 27 deadline for First Quantum's hostile $5.1-billion takeover bid.

Inmet (TSX:IMN) said Tuesday its board is taking the action because it has enough time to review and execute all strategic alternatives being considered.

Consequently, Inmet said an Ontario Securities Commission hearing set for Feb. 25 to address the application by First Quantum to block the plan will no longer be required.

Inmet said its board continues to recommend that Inmet shareholders reject First Quantum's offer and not tender their shares.

John Hughes of Desjardins Capital Markets described Inmet's decision as "neutral to negative," leaving the company with four alternatives.

He said it could let shareholders decide, sell 10 to 20 per cent of the Cobre Panama project, disclose a white knight bidder, or reach a friendly deal with First Quantum.

Hughes said the emergence of a white knight like KGHM International (TSX:QUX), Xstrata (LON:XTA) or Glencore International (LON:GLEN) appears less likely since the announcement of such a bidder would not need to be preceded by Inmet waiving its rights plan.

The analyst said Inmet's review of alternatives may have determined that First Quantum is the best option.

The hostile suitor gained access to confidential information in the past week related to the US$6.1 billion Cobre Panama project and Hughes said he doesn't believe the company will sweeten its $72 per share bid for Inmet.

The Vancouver-based miner gave Inmet shareholders an additional 13 days to decide whether to accept its takeover bid so it can pursue regulatory approvals.

It also changed a condition to give First Quantum the discretion to go ahead with a purchase even if it isn't given access to the same non-public information provided to other potential buyers, according to a regulatory filing obtained through DisclosureNet.com.

Inmet is a Canadian-based global mining company that produces copper and zinc. It has three wholly-owned mining operations in Turkey, Spain and Finland, along with an 80 per cent interest in Cobre Panama, a development property in Panama, currently in construction.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Inmet's shares lost $1.50, or 2.13 per cent, at $68.97 in afternoon trading Tuesday. First Quantum's shares were down nine cents at $19.93.