Bloomberg News

Vale’s $1.1 Billion Target Metorex Gets Unsolicited Interest

June 17, 2011

(Updates with Vale reaction in last paragraph.)

June 17 (Bloomberg) -- Metorex Ltd., the target of a $1.1 billion takeover bid from Brazil’s Vale SA, received an unsolicited approach from another party.

“There is currently no certainty that Metorex will receive a firm intention to make an offer from the alternate party,” Johannesburg-based Metorex said today in a statement.

Vale, seeking to boost copper output almost fivefold to 1 million metric tons by 2015, bid 7.35 rand ($1.08) a share for Metorex on April 8 in a transaction giving the Rio de Janeiro- based company the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ruashi open-pit mine and the Chibuluma copper development in Zambia.

Metorex rose 4.9 percent to 7.66 rand, the highest closing level since Oct. 17, 2008, as of 5 p.m. Johannesburg trading.

“You can see from the price that the people in the know, and there are always people in the know, are obviously impressed by the quality of the bidder,” Vestact Securities Ltd. Managing Director Paul Theron said by phone from Johannesburg today. “Vale are not idiots. You can assume that they recognize a good value case,” he said, adding the company’s offer would send a signal to others highlighting the value of the investment.

Legal Battle

The bidder may be Chinese, Johannesburg-based news website Miningmx reported today.

Other companies operating in Congo include First Quantum Minerals Ltd. and Eurasian Natural Resources Corp.

First Quantum, the Canadian company in a legal battle with Congo over its Kolwezi mining license and assets, isn’t involved in the offer for Metorex, company President Clive Newall said in an e-mailed response to queries. “Definitely not us.”

Charlotte Kirkham, a spokeswoman at ENRC, wouldn’t comment. The London-based company, whose copper units include Central African Mining & Exploration Co. in Congo and Chambishi Metals Plc in Zambia, bought rights to the Kolwezi project in August. The deal prompted First Quantum to seek more than $1 billion in compensation.

A Vale official in Rio de Janeiro, who declined to be identified citing corporate policy, said the company wouldn’t comment.

--With assistance from Jesse Riseborough in London. Editors: Tony Barrett, John Viljoen

To contact the reporter on this story: Carli Lourens in Johannesburg at clourens@bloomberg.net Firat Kayakiran in London at fkayakiran@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amanda Jordan at ajordan11@bloomberg.net


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