Delaware court upholds $2bn Southern Copper judgment

Delaware's highest court has upheld a decision by the state's chancery court to award $2 billion to Southern Copper Corp (NYSE:SCCO) following Southern's overpayment for Minera Mexico.

According to Reuters Chancery Court judge Leo Strine ruled in October that Southern Copper had overpaid for Minera Mexico by $1.263 billion in a 2005 deal and ordered original controlling shareholder Grupo Mexico (MEXICO:GMEXICOB) to repay the difference plus damages for a total repayment of around $2 billion.

The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the decision and rejected Grupo Mexico's argument that Strine had failed to accommodate a witness from Goldman Sachs who had served as an adviser to Southern Copper's board.

The court also affirmed a $304 million attorney's fee for the case, which is the largest of its kind ever awarded by the Delaware Court of Chancery. The fees are equivalent to $35,000 an hour, or over 30 times the rate for similar cases.

Shares in Grupo Mexico fell 1.8% on the Mexican Stock Exchange in afternoon trading, while Southern Copper edged lower 0.6% on the New York Stock Exchange.

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