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Company News

UPDATE 1-Canada's First Quantum shares fall after company adopts takeover defense

(Adds share reaction, context)

Jan 6 (Reuters) - Canada’s First Quantum Minerals Ltd fell as much as nearly 4% on Monday after the copper miner said it had adopted a poison pill takeover defense, nearly a month after China’s Jiangxi Copper Co Ltd agreed to pay $1.1 billion to become the miner’s largest shareholder.

The move adds a potential barrier to any takeover proposal at a time analysts, bankers and miners expect to see more deals in copper, a critical ingredient in low-carbon technologies.

The rights plan comes into force immediately, First Quantum said.

The shares were trading at C$11.99 early in Monday’s session on the Toronto Stock Exchange but later pared some losses to trade at C$12.19.

State-backed Jiangxi Copper said in a regulatory filing last month that it would buy Cupric Holdings Ltd from Pangaea Investment Management Ltd. Cupric held around 18% of First Quantum’s issued share capital as of Dec. 9.

First Quantum last September said it was in talks with Jiangxi for a potential sale of a minority interest in its Zambian copper assets, Kansanshi and Sentinel. Such a deal could generate about $2-billion in proceeds, according to Scotiabank analysts.

However, Jiangxi is prevented from buying more than a 20% interest in First Quantum under a standstill agreement reached by the companies in October.

First Quantum is also looking for strategic partners to develop new copper projects.

The company is eyeing a $1 billion investment to lift production at Kansanshi, Reuters reported on Friday.

First Quantum said its rights plan is triggered in the event any person becomes a beneficial holder of 20% or more of the outstanding shares. It said the plan is subject to ratification by shareholders within six months of its adoption. (Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Jeff Lewis in Toronto; Editing by Maju Samuel and Grant McCool)

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