(Vancouver) Swiss miner Glencore says it is ready to improve its bid to acquire Teck Resources, but it says shareholders of the Vancouver-based company should first reject a spin-off plan that would separate its metallurgical businesses from those related to coal steel industry.

In an open letter to Teck shareholders, Glencore chief executive Gary Nagle said he believed any improvements could only be considered if he got a commitment from Teck’s board.

Glencore has never claimed that its proposal was “best and last” and that it was unwilling to make changes and improvements to its proposal, Mr. Nagle pointed out in his letter.

“In fact, we believe that by engaging, we could improve the terms and value of our proposal, which would be in the interest of all Teck shareholders,” he said.

Teck’s board rejected Glencore’s unsolicited offer, which would see its shareholders receive a stake in a new entity that would combine the two companies’ metallurgical businesses and choose between cash or shares in a coal business combination of both companies.

This proposal would represent a 20% premium to the value of the shares at the time it was made.

Teck still favors moving forward with the proposed split presented in February, which would see its metals and coal businesses split into two separate businesses, Teck Metals and Elk Valley Resources.

This plan will be subject to a shareholder vote which is due to take place on April 26.

However, Glencore says it could not proceed with its proposal if the plan to spin off Teck’s activities were implemented, since that would make the operation much more complex.

“A two-step transaction would require the involvement of two boards of directors and shareholder groups, and would introduce a significant potential delay following the completion of Teck’s proposed separation,” Mr. Nagle wrote.

Teck chief executive Jonathan Price argued Glencore’s proposal was not a realistic or viable option and urged shareholders to support the company’s plan.

“This is a distraction — a transparent and opportunistic attempt to disrupt our separation plan with an ill-defined and highly uncertain proposal,” Mr. Price said in his own letter to shareholders on Wednesday.

“It is important to note that Glencore admits that it can only bid for Teck in its current form; the approaching split will correct this situation by opening up a broader range of value enhancement opportunities. »

Mr Price added that Glencore’s offer was a slightly modified version of a proposal the company made for Teck in 2020, which was rejected because it did not represent the best interests of shareholders.

Teck is controlled by the Keevil family, which owns the company’s Class A shares along with Japanese company Sumitomo.

Norman Keevil, chairman emeritus of Teck, said earlier this week that Glencore’s offer is the wrong proposition at the wrong time. He added, however, that he was ready to discuss other possible transactions once the company completes its own plan to spin off.

Mr. Keevil said he would welcome a transaction — whether it’s an operating partnership, merger, acquisition, or sale — with the right partner and the right people. conditions for Teck Metals, once the separation is complete.