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Diego Hernandez, CEO, Codelco

Delays may sink Anglo's Codelco court bid

André Janse van Vuuren | Wed, 23 Nov 2011 06:25

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[] -- CHILE'S courts might not hear Anglo American’s bid in time to overturn an injunction order which prohibited the diversified miner from selling further stakes in Anglo American Sur (AAS) before January.

Such a development would clear the way for the South American country’s state-owned copper miner, Codelco, to exercise an option to acquire a 24.5% stake in AAS, which houses key copper assets in the south of Chile, including the Los Bronces mine.

According to an Anglo American spokesperson, it is up to the Chilean appeals court when the matter would be considered, and that there was no guarantee that this would happen prior to end-January.

Codelco was granted the injunction after Anglo American sold 24.5% in AAS earlier in November to Japan’s Mitsubishi for $5.4bn, indicating there were more parties interested in a similar stake.

Codelco holds an option to acquire up to 49% of AAS in the January of every third year, until 2027. It indicated in October it was targeting the stake come January, by raising $6.75bn from Mitsui for the transaction. The exact purchase price would’ve been calculated acording to a set formula, based on the most recent five year earnings.

However, according to Anglo American, Codelco would’ve been entitled to only 49% of AAS if Anglo American was a 100% shareholder, and that any decrease in Anglo American’s shareholding should be subtracted from the stake over which Codelco might exercise the option.

Codelco CEO Diego Hernandez told Reuters Anglo was not fulfilling its contractual obligations, saying the diversified miner was “mortgaging their future investments” in Chile.

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