(Bloomberg) -- Teck Resources Ltd. is struggling to secure the support of top shareholder China Investment Corp., as the Canadian miner studies options to exit its coal business while fending off a takeover bid from Glencore Plc.
Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Price met with CIC representatives last week to solicit feedback after the Chinese sovereign wealth fund failed to back an earlier coal spinoff plan, according to people familiar with the matter. However, Price did not come away with any assurance that CIC would support a new proposal, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.
Spokespeople for Teck and CIC declined to comment.
Teck was forced to withdraw its previous spinoff plan just hours ahead of a shareholder meeting in April, after it failed to muster enough support. Teck insists that splitting off its coal business remains preferable to Glencore’s offer, and is now under pressure to present shareholders with a new, simpler proposal.
CIC, which owns 10% of Teck’s Class B shares, would favor whatever plan allowed investors to exit their coal exposure cleanly for an attractive cash return, said one of the people.
Glencore initially proposed buying Teck for $23 billion in shares, in order to create two new companies from their combined coal and metals businesses. It later added a cash component, offering up to $8.2 billion to buy out shareholders that would prefer to exit coal.
The Swiss commodities giant is now preparing a potential improvement to its $23 billion bid that could be announced as soon as the coming weeks, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.
Teck’s “supervoting” Class A shares mean its future will ultimately be decided by the founding Keevil family. However, CIC played a vital role in April’s vote because the resolution required two-thirds approval from each class of stock separately. The fund has not made any public comments about Teck’s future, but Bloomberg reported in mid-April it favored Glencore’s proposal because it would allow investors to exit their coal exposure in return for cash.
Teck management initially believed CIC would support its plan ahead of the April vote, with Price telling media he was confident the fund would vote “yes.” However, the company was left scrambling to determine CIC’s actual position in the days and weeks leading up to the April 26 vote before the Chinese fund ultimately did not support it, according to a person familiar with the matter.
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