Exclusive-Japan’s JFE Steel eyes stake in Teck’s coal business -sources

By Divya Rajagopal and Neha Arora

TORONTO (Reuters) – Japan’s JFE Steel Corp is in talks to invest in the metallurgical coal business of Canada’s Teck Resources, two people aware of the development told Reuters.

The talks have been going on since September, another source said. Both the sources declined to be identified as they are not authorized to speak to the media.

“We will continue to consider the acquisition of interests in coking coal, but we cannot answer individual questions,” a spokesperson for Tokyo-based JFE Steel said in an email response to Reuters. JFE is one of Japan’s largest steel maker.

The talks are early and may or may not result in a final transaction, one of the sources added.

Teck is considering splitting its coal and copper business since March this year, but the original proposal was voted down by its shareholders. In April, Teck also rebuffed a $22.5 billion unsolicited takeover offer for the entire company from Swiss mining and trading firm Glencore.

Teck told Reuters the company does not comment on market rumours or speculation, and directed to its earlier news release that said the company is engaging with various counterparties regarding the steelmaking coal business.

(Reporting by Divya Rajagopal and Neha Arora; Editing by Denny Thomas and Nick Zieminski)