Forrest's Wyloo Metals raises bid in tussle with BHP for Noront Resources

(Reuters) -Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest’s Wyloo Metals made a revised bid for Canadian nickel miner Noront Resources Ltd that was 27% more than BHP Group, Wyloo said on Monday.

The revised proposal is higher than BHP’s C$325 million ($257.81 million) bid in July, with Wyloo proposing to either keep Noront public or buy out the remaining shares it does not already own.

The tussle between BHP and Wyloo underscores the race to secure the supply of key battery metals that are used in electric vehicles.

The sweetened bid of C$0.70 per share, up from C$0.315, is at a 192% premium to the nickel miner’s closing price in May before Wyloo made its first offer.

Noront’s shares rose 28% on Monday to close at C$0.77.

Wyloo, which owns around 24% of Noront according to Refinitiv data, said it does not plan on supporting any bid by BHP.

Wyloo plans to name Forrest as Noront’s chairman, if it is successful with its bid and said it has asked for a “modest” amount of time to conduct due diligence.

“BHP will await a response from Noront’s board on Wyloo’s proposal before determining next steps,” a BHP spokesperson said.

Noront in a statement late on Tuesday affirmed its support for the BHP bid and recommended shareholders accept the offer

($1 = 1.2606 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan, Riya Sharma and Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta