SMM: Kathleen Quirk, chief financial officer of Freeport McMurren (Freeport-McMoRan), said on Tuesday that the company does not want to be distracted by any acquisition offer and will now focus on expanding its Grasberg copper and gold project in Indonesia and increasing cash flow.
In recent months, executives from rival Barrick gold company (Barrick Gold Corp) have publicly expressed interest in buying all or part of Freeport, especially its Grasberg project, the world's largest copper mine.
There has been no official offer yet, and Richard Adkerson, chief executive of Freeport, said he had no interest in selling the company.
Chief Financial Officer Quirk's comments on Tuesday highlighted his opposition to the acquisition.
The $15 billion Freeport Grasberg expansion project, which will be the largest underground mine in history, is coming to an end and is expected to boost cash flow significantly.
At the same time, Freeport is building a copper smelter in Indonesia.
"We want to see our shareholders benefit from this plan, not shareholders of other companies," Quirk said at Morgan Stanley's 8th Laguna annual meeting.
About 70 per cent of the Grasberg expansion project will be completed by the end of this year and 90 per cent by mid-2021, she said.
Freeport's share price has nearly tripled since hitting a low in March, and many analysts expect it to continue to climb.
Copper prices have risen 11 per cent since January, driven in part by growing demand in the electric car industry.
With that in mind, Quirk and Adkerson have repeatedly said they don't think now is the right time to sell.
"We really don't want to be distracted by mergers and acquisitions," Quirk said.
"We want to carry out this plan. We believe that this plan will bring extraordinary value to shareholders. "
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