Anglo American declines merger offer from Vedanta

Anglo American (LON:AAL) is said to have brushed off an approach from Vedanta Resources’ (LON:VED) chairman Anil Agarwal on a potential business combination, saying that the idea didn’t make sense.

Agarwal, the billionaire behind India’s largest mining conglomerate and Hindustan Zinc, allegedly approached Anglo in several opportunities earlier this year to discuss potential tie-ups, including a merger, Bloomberg reported.

Anglo doesn’t seem to be interested in any expansion, but quite the opposite. It plans to shrink its business down to focus on copper, platinum and diamonds, while backing out of iron ore and coal.

Talks never got to a stage where the two parties explored the potential structure of a business union, including which vehicle Agarwal would use for such a transaction, the unnamed sources told Bloomberg.

Analysts believe a tie-up between the two miners would be challenging, as the Indian government holds 30% stake in Hindustan Zinc, a major subsidiary of Vedanta, and could block any potential merger.

Vedanta itself is in the midst of completing the drawn-out merger of two other subsidiaries, Vedanta Ltd and Cairn India, which was announced a year ago, but which has been so far unsuccessful.

Anglo, in turn, doesn’t seem to be interested in any expansion, but quite the opposite. In fact, it plans to shrink its business down to focus on copper, platinum and diamonds, while backing out of iron ore and coal.

The company with roots going back more than a hundred years to South Africa's gold and diamond fields has warned it would cut around 85,000 employees this year, almost two-thirds of its workforce. It has also said it'd reduce the number of mines it operates from 55 to the "low 20s".

Former Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese is now chief executive of Vedanta.