Vedanta says stake sale talks baseless


BENGALURU: After a Bloomberg story that the Indian tycoon was considering selling less than 5% of the business, Vedanta Ltd, which is owned by billionaire Anil Agarwal, claimed on Thursday that any talk of a stake sale in the big mining company was “untrue and false.”
After the report, Vedanta’s stock price dropped as much as 6.3%.
According to Bloomberg, Agarwal is looking into the prospect of selling a stake in the Mumbai-listed business worth less than 5%, according to the people who declined to be named because the information is confidential. According to the sources, the billionaire will only consider selling a stake in Vedanta as a last resort if all other means of generating money prove unsuccessful. The corporation is worth roughly $12.2 billion on the market. 5% ownership is equal to around $610 million.

According to a report from Bloomberg News earlier this month, Agarwal’s Vedanta Resources Ltd, which controls around 70% of Vedanta, has been in discussions with at least three banks for a loan worth up to $1 billion. According to the persons, conversations are still ongoing and no decisions have been taken in regards to the loan.
In answer to a question from Bloomberg News, a spokeswoman for the firms stated: “Any speculations of stake sale in Vedanta Ltd. is inaccurate and baseless.”

According to a Bloomberg Intelligence report, Vedanta Resources may rely on dividends from its subsidiary Hindustan Zinc Ltd to help repay the $400 million in dollar-denominated bonds due in April. On Tuesday, Hindustan Zinc announced that it would distribute an interim dividend of 26 rupees per share, or around 110 billion rupees ($1.3 billion), to shareholders.

Globally rising interest rates have put pressure on debtors with low credit ratings who have large debt loads, like Vedanta. The Vedanta Group and its affiliate Hindustan Zinc reached an agreement in January to sell a zinc manufacturing company for $2.98 billion over 18 months. Hindustan Zinc is owned by the Indian government, which is adamantly opposed to the deal.

Vedanta Resources said in a February filing with the exchange that it had reduced its net debt from $7.7 billion to $2 billion in the current fiscal year and will continue to do so in the following two fiscal years.

Agarwal, a self-made millionaire, wanted to diversify his company empire into a conglomerate focused on resources like BHP Group Inc. Up until 2019, when he sold his stock because his returns were “achieved even sooner than projected,” he was Anglo American Plc’s largest shareholder. In 2020, he attempted but failed to take the financially robust Vedanta private. The Mumbai-listed business and Agarwal’s privately held Vedanta Resources were then discussed as a possible merger, according to a 2017 article by Bloomberg News.

Agarwal made his money through a string of risky buys. In 2001, he took over the government-owned Bharat Aluminium Co., putting India’s efforts to sell off state-owned assets to the test. He then bought Hindustan Zinc, a different government organisation. Despite lacking any prior oil and gas experience, he was successful in his bids for Cairn India and Sesa Goa Ltd., which at the time was India’s largest iron ore producer.