UPDATE 4-Toronto stocks get boost from TransAlta, resources

Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:27pm EDT
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(Adds details, quotes)

* TSX rises more than 1 percent as resources climb

* TransAlta soars after takeover offer

* Banks ease from early gains to end lower

By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO, July 21 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index surged more than 1 percent on Monday, propelled by a takeover bid for TransAlta Corp (TA.TO: Quote), while resource issues climbed in tandem with commodity prices.

TransAlta was among the biggest gainers by weight after U.S. private equity firms LS Power Equity Partners and Global Infrastructure said they had approached the Canadian power-generation company with a nonbinding proposal to buy it for C$7.8 billion ($7.8 billion), or C$39 a share, a 21 percent premium over the stock's closing price on Friday.

The big premium signaled strong interest in energy-related companies and came just four months after an affiliated investor dropped efforts to control the company's board. Shares in TransAlta, which runs coal- and gas-fired power plants and renewable energy facilities in Canada and the United States, jumped C$4.86, or 15.1 percent, to C$37.11.

"It's not the first time we've seen a little bit of an argument with that shareholder, so I think they decided to come back and try to skin it a different way," said Brian Pow, vice president of research and equity analyst at Acumen Capital Partners, in Calgary.   Continued...