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'We like Teck as a Canadian company,' industry minister says as fate remains unclear

Vancouver-based Teck cancelled a Wednesday shareholder vote on its plan to split into a metal and a coal company
The Teck Resources logo is seen on a podium before the company's special meeting of shareholders, in Vancouver, B.C., Wednesday, April 26, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Canada's industry minister talked of the significance of Teck Resources Ltd. Friday while stopping short of a commitment to halt a takeover of the company. 

"Our message has been very clear that we like Teck as a Canadian company," said François-Philippe Champagne at a press conference in Montreal.

"But as you appreciate, as the regulator under the Investment Canada Act that's as much as I can say for the time being."

His comments come after a tumultuous week that saw Teck Resources Ltd. pull its restructuring plan at the last hour while mining giant Glencore pursues its takeover efforts of the company.

Vancouver-based Teck cancelled a Wednesday shareholder vote on its plan to split into a metal and a coal company and said it is still opposed to any deal with Glencore, adding that it remains committed to its own plan to become two companies.

Glencore, meanwhile, said Thursday that it is still interested in discussing a deal with Teck's board of directors, but it is willing to take its takeover offer directly to the company's shareholders if necessary.

The failure of Teck's restructuring plan has kept the door open for Glencore's proposal, which has also created heightened political interest including calls from the federal Conservatives for the government to block any attempt by the Swiss company to acquire Teck.

Champagne's comments Friday echoed what he and other ministers wrote in a letter to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade dated April 24 which said Ottawa is watching the situation "very closely" and that "we need companies like Teck here in Canada."

A potential takeover by Glencore would be subject to both a net-benefit review and a national-security review by the federal government, and some observers have pointed out Glencore's pursuit of the Canadian company comes at the same time that the government has committed to a national critical minerals strategy as part of its overall climate plan.

The timing of any takeover proposal, or other next move by Glencore, is still unclear, as is any future Teck restructuring proposal. 

While much remains unknown, what does seem clear is that shareholders are benefiting from the competing plans as shares have been trading around all-time highs in past two weeks.  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TECK.B)

The Canadian Press