Freeport Drops After Filing for Second $1 Billion Stock Sale

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Freeport-McMoRan Inc., the world’s biggest publicly traded copper producer, said it may sell an additional $1 billion in common stock after it completed a similar offering announced last month.

Freeport fell 6.6 percent to $11.25 at 9:31 a.m. in New York. The Phoenix-based miner’s shares have dropped 51 percent this year amid a global commodity rout.

The company may offer shares on the New York Stock Exchange “from time to time through designated sales agents,” Phoenix-based Freeport said Friday in a statement. It has already raised $1 billion in proceeds by selling 96.7 million shares in open-market transactions since Aug. 10, when the prior offering was announced.

Freeport is responding to a 22 percent slump in copper prices in the past 12 months as Chinese demand slows and the U.S. dollar strengthens. The company said last month it would trim production and investment and has also announced cutbacks in energy investments as part of a sweeping operational review.

“The actions we have taken to cut costs, significantly reduce capital expenditures in our mining and oil and gas businesses and raise equity proceeds are necessary in the current period of weak and uncertain market conditions,” Freeport said in the statement.

Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn disclosed in a filing last month that he had amassed a stake of about 8.5 percent of the company. He said at the time he may seek board representation and intended to hold talks with the company on “capital expenditures, executive compensation practices and capital structure as well as curtailment of the issuer’s high-cost production operations.”