Exxon Corp. has revealed that a wholly-owned affiliate has bid $107 million for one of Chile's state-owned copper companies, Compania Minera Disputada de Las Condes S.A.
The bid by Exxon Minerals International Inc. of $2.01 a share of 53.5 million shares of the company is the only one received by the Chilean government. Under the late President Salvador Allende, Chile expropriated the company from Penarroya, a French concern.
Chile, under Allende, who died in a military coup in 1973, nationalized the country's entire copper industry, which includes some of the world's richest mines. The current government, sources said, has been trying to sell off some of the smaller copper holdings to raise badly needed funds, but has given no indication it wants to sell any of the prime mining properties.
The $53.5 million shares of the company represent 87 per cent of the outstanding stock. The remaining 13 per cent is held by private investors. Exxon said that if its bid is successful, it will make a tender offer for the these shares at the same price.
The recent trading price of the copper mining company's shares on the Santiago stock exchange was around the world copper industry.
But Exxon said that control of the entire company would be worth more. The company indicated an interest in possibly expanding Disputada's production, which now is based on two deposits 45 miles northeast and 85 miles northwest of Santiago.
The company also has a smelter and support facilities. In 1976, it produced 37,000 metric tons of copper.
An Exxon spokesman said the proposed takeover does not really represent a diversification for the world's largest petroleum company since it has already entered into the mining business.
"We consider as an extension of our expertise in exploration - pretty much the same skills are involved if you are exploring for oil or exploring for copper," he said.
Though the acquisition price of $107 million is sizeable, it is dwarfed by Exxon's worldwide assets, which last year totaled $36.3 billion, and worldwide revenues which came to $48.6 billion.