First Quantum Minerals Ltd. made a last-ditch plea to shareholders of Inmet Mining Corp. on Monday to tender their shares to a $5.1-billion takeover offer, promising to unleash greater value in the giant Cobre Panama copper project in Central America.
Vancouver-based First Quantum’s cash-and-stock offer for Inmet expires at one minute before midnight on Monday, unless extended.
“By tendering today, as First Quantum shareholders you will have immediate exposure to the Company’s strengths and renowned project capabilities on Cobre Panama, a project at a critical juncture of its development in a challenging environment,” the company said in a statement.
“Our vision of the two companies combined is that a major geographically diversified copper company will be created,” it said. “We have already outlined the superior growth prospects of the combined entity. To achieve this vision, the combination needs to be established soon in order to exploit First Quantum’s strengths and capabilities on the Cobre Panama Project.”
Cobre Panama is one of the world’s few large copper projects in development. It would be one of the most ambitious projects ever in its native Panama, home to the namesake canal that joins the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The mine would be the largest ever in Central America.
Inmet shares were trading nearly flat at $68.62 a share on Monday. First Quantum shares were also nearly flat, at $20.36 a share. Stock in both companies has retreated in recent weeks as concern grew around the short-term outlook for global copper markets.
Inmet urged shareholders on Friday to reject the First Quantum bid, pointing out that on a pro-rated basis, the value is below the $72 face value of the offer. It also reminded shareholders that Cobre Panama is fully financed and said the First Quantum bid undervalued the company.
Inmet chairman David Beatty also said the board’s special committee would be prepared to meet with First Quantum to discuss a deal if it were prepared to improve its offer.