Agnico Buys Arctic Miner After Canada Nixed Sale to Chinese

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Canadian gold giant Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. agreed to pay a premium to buy TMAC Resources Inc. for about C$287 million ($225 million) two weeks after Canada rejected a takeover of the Arctic miner by a Chinese suitor.

Agnico will pay C$2.20 per share in cash, according to a joint statement Tuesday from the Toronto-based companies. The offer is 40% more than TMAC’s closing price on Monday, and higher than the C$1.75 proposed by China’s Shandong Gold Mining Co. in May.

Agnico didn’t feel pressure to pay a premium for TMAC and basically took over the Shandong purchase arrangement that was already agreed to by TMAC shareholders, Chief Executive Officer Sean Boyd said Tuesday in a phone interview.

“But conditions have changed since that last deal was approved,” Boyd said. “Certainly the climate for gold has improved, the mine is generating cash now -- it wasn’t earlier this year.”

TMAC owns the Hope Bay gold mine in the northern territory of Nunavut, an operation that includes a port and airstrips. Agnico already has two working mines in the Canadian Arctic: Meliadine and Meadowbank.

Last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government rejected the Shandong acquisition, which had been the subject of a security review under the Investment Canada Act. The Chinese company said at the time the government’s decision was made “for the purpose of safeguarding national security.”

TMAC acquired the Hope Bay project in 2013 from Newmont Corp, which maintained a stake in the Nunavut operation. Newmont and Resource Capital Funds, another major shareholder, and Shandong entered into agreements with Agnico to cooperate on the transaction, which is expected to close by Feb. 8, according to the joint statement.

Agnico’s shares fell 2.8% to C$93.54 as of 10:51 a.m. in Toronto, while TMAC gained 39% to C$2.18.

BMO Capital Markets and CIBC Capital Markets advised TMAC on the transaction, while Trinity Advisors Corp. and First Asia Group Ltd. worked with Agnico Eagle.

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