September 15, 2016 / 3:42 PM / 2 years ago

Lundin gets second bid extension on Freeport Congo mine stake

TORONTO, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Canadian base metals miner Lundin Mining Corp has won a two week extension until Sept. 29 to bid on Freeport-McMoRan Inc’s stake in the Tenke Fungurume copper and cobalt mine, Lundin said in a statement on Thursday.

Lundin, previously granted an extension to Sept. 15, said it continues to review, with legal and financial advisors, its ownership in the Democratic Republic of Congo mine, one of the world’s largest copper deposits.

The Toronto-based company would not comment on why it needs more time, but director of business valuations and investor relations Mark Turner repeated that Lundin has credible interest from multiple parties on a number of scenarios.

Lundin, which primarily produces copper, nickel and zinc, has a 24 percent share of Tenke, while Freeport holds 56 percent and Congo’s state miner Gecamines has the remaining 20 percent.

Phoenix-based Freeport, which has been selling assets to cut its large debt load, agreed in May to sell its Tenke stake to China Molybdenum (CMOC) for $2.65 billion.

Under a ‘right of first offer’, Lundin can supplant any bids for the mine by matching them. It can also decide to sell its stake or do nothing and allow the China Moly deal to proceed.

Lundin, which has hired Bank of Montreal to help it consider options, told Reuters in June that it was weighing interest from multiple parties.

RBC analyst Fraser Phillips said Lundin is most likely to maintain its 24-percent interest, with China Moly operating the mine. The next likely scenario is that Lundin sells its stake, but with a lower valuation than Freeport, which held a controlling interest, he wrote in a note to clients on Thursday.

The transaction size makes a counter-bid unlikely, some analysts say. Lundin, whose shares rose 2 percent to C$5.08 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday morning, has a market capitalization of about C$3.59 billion ($2.72 billion). ($1 = 1.3177 Canadian dollars) (Additional reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Chris Reese)

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