(Bloomberg) – Conglomerate Grupo Mexico SAB and Canada’s Hudbay Minerals Inc. are among the latest bidders vying to acquire a Spanish copper miner from the Trafigura group, people with knowledge of the matter have said.
The parties made firm offers last week for Minas de Aguas Tenidas, known as Matsa, which could fetch around $ 2 billion, according to people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Grupo Mexico, which could make the purchase through its listed mining unit Southern Copper Corp., is seen as a serious competitor for the company, the people said.
Hudbay is working with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which would provide funding to the Canadian miner for the potential acquisition, people said.
Hudbay shares, which jumped up to 7.7% in U.S. trading on Wednesday, closed 2% higher. Southern Copper shares gained 2.6%, outpacing the 0.4% gain in the MSCI World Metals & Mining Index.
Trafigura, one of the world’s largest commodities traders, and Abu Dhabi investment fund Mubadala Investment Co. have been looking to sell Matsa since the start of the year, Bloomberg News reported. Deliberations are ongoing, and a winning bidder has yet to be chosen, the people said.
The sale process comes after copper prices hit an all-time high earlier this year. The world’s largest miners are universally bullish on the metal, expecting demand to increase as the global economy decarbonates, while long-term supply appears constrained by lack of new mine development .
Matsa has also attracted interest from Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second-largest miner, although the company is seen as a less likely buyer, people said.
Representatives of Grupo Mexico, OTPP, Rio and Trafigura declined to comment. A spokesperson for Hudbay said the company has a disciplined growth strategy with strict strategic criteria, declining to comment further. Representatives for Southern Copper and Mubadala did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Matsa owns the Agua Tenidas, Sotiel and Magdalena mines in southern Spain, which produce concentrates of copper, zinc and lead. Trafigura sold a 50% stake in Matsa to Mubadala in 2015 as part of a partnership project for investments in base metals. Mubadala paid around $ 500 million for the participation, a person familiar with the matter said at the time.
(Updates with closing share prices in the fourth paragraph)
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