Norman B. Keevil’s nightmare is becoming a reality. On Wednesday, Teck Resources cancelled a proposal to split the company in half, a transformational move that would have created two Canadian mining champions. One would produce the metals needed for the energy revolution, while the other would dig up the type of coal used to make steel.
Teck presumably withdrew the plan after learning it lacked the shareholder votes to put it into action. It is thought the company was unable to convince its biggest shareholder, China Investment Corp., with 10 per cent of the common class B shares, to reverse its “no” vote and endorse the split proposal.
The collapse of Teck’s attempted reinvention means Canada’s biggest diversified mining company will revert to the status quo; it also means Teck is now exposed to takeover attempts that could see it land in foreign hands.
Mr. Keevil, Teck’s chairman emeritus and son of company founder Norman Bell Keevil, is a proud Canadian nationalist who did not want to see his company owned – and probably hollowed out – by a gang of ruthless foreigners determined to compete with the Chinese in the global battle to lock up supplies of critical metals such as copper, nickel and cobalt.
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