UPDATE: Market Chatter: Inmet Bidders Seen Lured by Big Copper Deposit; Inmet Up Again Today, Gained Nearly 6% Thursday


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Inmet Mining Corp. (IMN.TO), owner of the world's second-biggest undeveloped copper deposit, is forecast by investors and analysts to attract rival takeover offers after it rejected a $4.86 billion (US$4.9 billion) bid from First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.TO), Bloomberg reported.

First Quantum offered C$70 a share in cash and stock for Toronto-based Inmet on Nov. 25, a month after proposing a purchase at C$62.50, Inmet said on Nov. 28. The improved offer is 33% more than Inmet's closing share price the day before it announced that it had been approached.

Inmet will "go into play" if there are any signs of interest from the "supergiant" mining companies, said David Baskin, president of Baskin Financial Services Inc. in Toronto, referring to Rio de Janeiro-based Vale SA. as a "logical buyer."

"If you start seeing signs of interest from those guys, you will get a bidding war," Baskin, whose company manages about C$440 million and owns about 120,000 Inmet shares, said in a telephone interview from Toronto. Inmet is probably worth C$85 a share, he said.

Teck Resources Ltd. (TCK-B.TO) and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. ( FCS ) may also be interested, Alex Terentiew and Ross Yakovlev, analysts at Raymond James Ltd. in Toronto, said yesterday in a note.

Cobre Panama has 6.5 billion tons of copper resources, the second-highest of any undeveloped copper project, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Dogged by rising spending, regulatory delays and funding concerns, it's expected to cost $6.2 billion and produce 266,000 tons a year on average when construction is complete. A project of that size would dwarf First Quantum's past and present operations in Zambia, Mauritania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

First Quantum said yesterday it was "surprised and disappointed" by the rejection after inviting Inmet three times to enter into talks.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

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