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Cynthia Carroll, CEO of Anglo American.

Anglo American releases Mitsubishi contract

Tom Azzopardi | Thu, 19 Jan 2012 09:42

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[] -- ANGLO American made public on Wednesday four documents relating to the sale of shares in its Chilean subsidiary - Anglo American Sur - to Japan’s Mitsubishi, as part of its dispute with Chile’s state-owned Codelco.

A ruling issued on Monday by a Santiago court - following a request by Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer - forced the LSE and JSE-listed mining firm to hand over the documents.

Under the deal, which was closed in November last year, the Japanese trading house agreed to pay $5.39bn for a 24.5% stake in the Sur business, which includes Anglo’s world-class Los Bronces mine. Anglo said the deal prevents Codelco from exercising in full a historic option for 49% of the company.

Releasing the documents, Anglo denied that the contract contained any means to revert the transfer of property.

“The transaction between the two companies [is] under freely agreed terms and conditions that are normal for international agreements of this sort,” Anglo said in a statement from its Santiago offices.

“Neither of the parties has the right to undo or reverse all or any part of the transaction,” Anglo said.

Speaking on Tuesday, Codelco CEO Diego Hernandez said his firm fears that the Mitsubishi agreement amounts to a simulated sale; one that would protect Anglo from having Codelco exercise its option, but without reducing its long-term participation in the business.

Codelco had asked to see the documents ahead of a potential legal action to quash the deal as fraudulent. With that strategy now unlikely to prosper, the focus will now be on the two main legal fronts:

Codelco’s court bid to force Anglo to hand over the 49% of shares in Anglo American Sur to which it says it has a right; and Anglo American’s bid to annul the entire option on the basis that Codelco attempted to exercise it ahead of the established January window.

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