(Bloomberg) -- Teck Resources Ltd. received several proposals for deals involving its coal operations, as the Canadian miner works to draw up a new plan for splitting off the business while rejecting a bid from Glencore Plc.
Teck’s plans to exit coal and create a standalone base-metals company suffered a blow in April when it failed to win enough shareholder support for a complicated spinoff proposal. It maintains that separating from its coal assets will create the most value for shareholders, and is now under pressure to develop a plan more appealing than Glencore’s $23 billion offer for the entire company, especially with the prospect of a sweetened bid on the way.
The company said on Tuesday it has received a number of indications of interest related to its coal business, but didn’t give any details about the other parties or structure of potential deals. Separately, Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Price said that Canadian mining financier Pierre Lassonde “does not speak for Teck,” after he was quoted by local press suggesting the company may seek to avoid another shareholder vote with its revised plan.
“Teck’s board will appropriately consider and evaluate any proposal that can unlock the tremendous potential of Teck’s premium businesses and portfolio of high-quality assets as part of our ongoing work to continue building a great mining business and realize value for shareholders,” said Teck chairperson Sheila Murray.
Teck shares rose as much as 2.7% and traded 1.7% higher at 11:43 a.m. in Toronto.
Bloomberg reported last week that Glencore was working on a higher offer for Teck as it seeks to draw the board and management to the negotiating table. Crucially, any successful takeover attempt would require the support of Teck’s founding family, the Keevils, who hold a veto on big decisions through Teck’s “supervoting” Class A shares.
However, it was the regular Class B shareholders who scuppered Teck’s earlier spinoff, and could again be crucial if the company’s next proposal for its coal business also requires an investor vote. Bloomberg reported last week that Teck was struggling to secure an assurance of support from top shareholder China Investment Corp., which opposed the earlier plan and holds about 10% of the company.
One potential buyer for Teck’s coal business is financier Lassonde, who has been vocal about his interest in acquiring the assets with a consortium of investors. The Globe and Mail newspaper quoted Lassonde last week as saying Teck was leaning toward selling only a portion of its coal business, which could avoid the need for a shareholder vote.
However, Teck’s CEO said on Tuesday that Lassonde’s comments did not reflect the company’s plans.
“With all due respect, Mr. Lassonde does not speak for Teck and does not have an informed view of our intentions for Teck’s steelmaking coal business,” Price said in a statement. “Whatever course of action our management and board choose to pursue will be guided by what’s in the best interest of shareholders and stakeholders.”
Part of Teck’s challenge is that the copper business has been depending on profits from coal in order to fund its growth plans. The earlier spinoff plan was criticized for the lack of a clean break, because the metals business would still have funded the coal company for several years after the split.
Teck is being advised by Barclays and Ardea Partners, while its special committee is being advised by BMO Capital Markets, Goldman Sachs and Origin Merchant Partners.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.