Codelco, Chile’s state-owned copper company, filed an injunction in a Santiago court today to prevent Anglo American Plc (AAL) from selling additional stakes in the London- based company’s Sur copper unit.
Codelco filed the injunction after Anglo sold 24.5 percent of the unit to Mitsubishi Corp. (8058) last week, a company official, who declined to be named citing internal policy, said by telephone. The court will review the case after deciding that the injunction is admissible, the official said.
Codelco is taking legal action against Anglo to protect an option to buy 49 percent of the Sur unit, Chief Executive Officer Diego Hernandez told radio station Cooperativa today. Codelco said last month that it planned to buy the full stake under a financing arrangement with Mitsui & Co. Ltd.
Anglo announced Nov. 9 the sale of the stake to Mitsubishi in a deal Anglo says reduces by half the shares available to Codelco as part of an option contract dating back to 1978.
Codelco filed the injunction to block Anglo from selling further stakes in the Sur unit before the Santiago-based company can exercise its option in January 2012, the official said. Anglo says Codelco can only now purchase 24.5 percent because the option stipulates that Anglo’s ownership in the unit can’t fall below 51 percent.
“Anglo will oppose the injunction in courts,” the company said in an e-mailed statement. “Codelco’s injunction doesn’t affect in any way last week’s sale of a 25.5 percent stake to Mitsubishi.”
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