Vale (NYSE:VALE), Teck (NYSE:TCK) and Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) are some of the names analysts are throwing around as the next likely bidders for Inmet MiningCorp. (TSX:IMN), which owns the world’s second-biggest undeveloped copper deposit.
The Canadian company, which on Thursday rejected a $4.86 billion takeover offer from First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM), has become an attractive target for major miners looking to boost their copper assets.
According to David Baskin, president of Toronto-based Baskin Financial Services Inc., Brazil’s Vale would be a logical buyer. He told Bloomberg News he expected Inmet to “go into play” if there are any trace of interest coming from any of the giant global miners.
“If you start seeing signs of interest from those guys, you will get a bidding war,” said Baskin, whose company manages about $440 million and owns about 120,000 Inmet shares. He added that Inmet is probably worth $85 a share.
Meanwhile, analysts at Raymond James Ltd., also based in Toronto, said in a note to investors that Teck Resources Ltd. and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold are two of the big players likely to be tempted by the potential ownership of Cobre Panama.
The under construction Cobre mine, with an expected lifespan of over 31 years, contains 6.5 billion tons of copper and it is expected to ship its first consignment of concentrate during the first quarter of 2016.
In August Inmet, battling over land rights with Vancouver-based Petaquilla Minerals Ltd. (TSX:PTQ) in Panama, received $1 billion from Franco-Nevada (TSX & NYSE: FNV) to boost progress at Cobre, in exchange for a future precious metals stream.
And early this month the Canadian miner, which reports its results in U.S. dollars, posted a 19% rise in third-quarter profit as copper production and prices improved substantially.
(Image, Cobre Pananma from Inment Mining)