The Alcan title won more than 3, yesterday at the meeting, on a background of rumours of counteroffer from mining giant BHP Billiton to hostile OPA of Alcoa. The previous evening, the number two world aluminum had formally dismissed its American competitor offer, stating that his leadership continued to explore alternatives including "current discussions with third parties".
According to the "Globe and Mail daily, which cited sources close to the record, the Canadian group would be in preliminary discussions with the Anglo-Australian BHP. He approached the Canadian manufacturer of aluminum late last year, but suffered a failure, according to the Globe and Mail. Chip Goodyear, the patron of the Anglo-Australian Group, must retire at the end of the year. Some feel that an acquisition of Alcan would represent the crowning achievement of his career, but he is also suspected to be interested in the mining Rio Tinto, his compatriot (see page 32). Alcan and BHP have refused to comment on the information. Another White Knight found possible by analysts, the Brazilian CVRD.
However, the Montreal group also has its arguments to convince shareholders not to accept the offer of 28 billion of Alcoa. Active, not assets it reflects adequately the value it is not sufficient for the control of Alcan and premium is highly conditional and uncertain ", Sonny Yves Fortier, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Alcan.
Dick Evans, its operational pattern, added that his group's stock performance was more beneficial to the shareholders as if it had accepted different preliminary offers from its American rival. Between his first offers, July 29, 2005, and on 4 may, last day of rating before the OPA, Alcan stream grew by 80. That of Alcoa to only 27.
In its response to the OPA, Alcan also provides crisp details on approaches to his rival. He entrusted inter alia that, in private conversations that have dotted their trade for two years, the pattern of Alcoa, Alain Belda, was repeated several times be "a potential hostile acquisition target." Rumours had indeed discussed BHP and CVRD.
The discussions between the two groups also show that if Alcan regularly opposed to an acquisition by Alcoa, the Canadian group had been more open to discussions on a "merger between equals" in the summer 2006. They have finally been halted, Alcoa refusing to conclude a confidentiality agreement, according to Dick Evans.
From there to justify a reverse acquisition i.e. an offer for Alcan on Alcoa there was nothing... that Dick Evans refuses to depart. "Our Board of Directors asked us to consider all the possibilities", he replied to a question on this subject in an interview with AFP. His predecessor, Travis Engen, proved the agility of Alcan in this kind of context. After abandoning in 2000 the proposed merger to three with the Swiss Algroup and Pechiney, who was then conducting the negotiations, he returned to the charge in 2003 by launching its hostile OPA on the French group. After a spectacular stock market battle, he had finally won the jewel of French industry for EUR 4 billion.