Teck Resources should remain in Canada, says Finance Minister Freeland

Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. Photo by Freeland’s press office

Teck Resources, which is trying to fend off an unsolicited $22.5 billion takeover offer from Glencore Plc, should remain headquartered in Canada and help the country expand its critical minerals industry, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Monday.

Freeland’s comments were the clearest indication to date that Ottawa is closely watching the takeover battle between Vancouver-based Teck and Switzerland’s Glencore because of Teck’s interests in copper and other metals critical to a green energy transition.

“We need companies like Teck here in Canada, companies with a strong commitment to Canada,” Freeland wrote in a letter seen by Reuters to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, which has concerns about Teck’s future in Canada.

After Freeland’s comment, Glencore pointed out to its April 3 letter where it has said its deal “would not materially change the day-to-day operations at Teck’s assets in Canada. It will honour all of Teck’s commitments to local Canadian communities as well as to Indigenous communities to ensure their interests are acknowledged and protected”.

Teck did not respond to an email request for comment.

Separately, Teck’s institutional shareholders were due to vote by 3 p.m. ET on Monday on a Teck proposal to split its coal and metals businesses, with results released on Wednesday.

Glencore has said that there is no deal if shareholders vote in favor of Teck’s split. Canada’s largest pension fund CPPI voted against the split over the weekend then changed its vote to favor the move, according to its website.

China Investment Corporation (CIC), the largest holder of Teck’s common stock, has not disclosed how it voted.

Large investors such as the Norwegian government pension fund, asset managers Janus Henderson and Letko Brosseau and Teck mining partner Sumitomo Metals have said they will vote in favor of the split.

Proxy advisory firms Glass Lewis and ISS have recommended shareholders oppose dividing Teck, and Toronto-based Waratah Capital Advisors has said it voted against the move.

(Reporting by Divya Rajagopal and Steve Scherer; Editing by Ernest Scheyder, Marguerita Choy and Cynthia Osterman)

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