UPDATE 3-First Quantum dismayed by Inmet's refusal to engage

Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:23pm EST
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* First Quantum says surprised and disappointed at Inmet response

* Analysts argue sweetened offer needed for bid to succeed

* Inmet shares close 5.6 pct higher; First Quantum shares dip (Adds details, comments from analysts, updates share price move)

By Euan Rocha

TORONTO, Nov 29 (Reuters) - First Quantum Minerals Ltd said on Thursday it believed Inmet Mining Corp's board was selling shareholders short by refusing to enter into talks on a takeover proposal put forward by First Quantum earlier this month.

Toronto-based Inmet, which is building the Cobre Panama copper mine in Central America, said on Wednesday it had turned down a C$4.86 billion ($4.89 billion) unsolicited proposal from its larger rival, saying the offer was "highly conditional" and not in the best interests of its shareholders.

"First Quantum is both surprised and disappointed at the circumstances under which the Inmet board chose to forego this significant opportunity," First Quantum Chief Executive Philip Pascall said in a statement.

Vancouver, British Columbia-based First Quantum, which owns assets in Africa, Australia, South America and Europe, said it believes that Inmet shareholders would support a transaction that offers immediate and attractive cash value for the shares.

First Quantum said it had approached Inmet on three separate occasions during the last two months to engage in discussions, but Inmet has spurned all its overtures.   Continued...