Fortescue Metals was up 5% Monday on rumours that Canadian coal and copper/zinc miner Teck Resources is making a play for the third-largest iron ore producer in Australia.
But analysts quoted in The Globe and Mail doubt Teck has the resources for a takeover of Fortescue, which is estimated to be worth over $17 billion:
“We believe an outright acquisition of Fortescue to be too large for Teck, despite obvious synergies to their metallurgical coal portfolio,” said Deutsche Bank analyst David Martin in a note to clients.
Fortescue (ASX:FMG) shares have risen 10% since Feb. 1 on speculation that a stake might be bought by an overseas company, while Teck said last week it invested $324 million the last quarter in publicly traded companies, The Globe reported. Teck (TSE:TCK.B) shares were down 1.7% in New York on Monday and 1.9% on the Toronto exchange.
Vancouver-based Teck, with a market cap of $23 billion, specializes in coking coal used for steelmaking, but it does not currently have any iron ore holdings.
Last week Teck reported a record annual profit of $2.7 billion, up by half from 2010, fuelled mainly by higher coal prices.
Meanwhile, Fortescue is out of pocket $25 million after buying a 13-month option on Iron Valley, a Pilbara iron ore mine owned by Iron Ore Holdings, beating out rivals Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.
The Australian reported that under the deal reached Tuesday, the option can be exercised with the payment of $20 million and a 2-5% royalty on iron ore shipments. IOH is also giving Fortescue the option to buy at least 50% of its Maitland River magnetite deposit should the deposit turn into a mine.