Consolidated Thompson shareholders approve takeover by Cliffs

Consolidated Thompson's shares dropped two cents to close at $17.11 on Friday after the company announced its shareholders have approved the friendly takeover by Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.

Under the deal, made public in mid-January, Cliffs Natural Resources acquired Consolidated Thompson for  CDN$4.9 billion (US$4.6 billion) or C$17.27 in cash per common share. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter.

Cleveland-based miner Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF) hopes to develop a relationship with China's third largest steelmaker, open access to Asian markets, and achieve millions of dollars in cost savings at the two companies' nearby operations.

The U.S. miner has already entered into an agreement with Consolidated Thompson's largest shareholder, Wuhan Iron and Steel, which owns nearly 19% of the Canadian company's shares.

Consolidated Thompson operates the Bloom Lake mine in the Labrador Trough Iron Ore Range. Bloom Lake plans to double its production to 16 million tonnes by 2012. Among its neighbors is Cliffs' Wabush mine and concentrator.

The combined company will own 10 iron ore facilities, six coal mines and a chrome project in North and South America and Australia. It could produce up to 30 million tonnes of iron ore pellets and as much as 16 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate.

— with files from Mineweb