Batista loses control of his iron ore darling MMX

Batista loses control of his iron ore darling MMX

Mining magnate Eike Batista, once Brazil’s richest businessman, is transferring 17.1 million shares, or 10.5% of his iron ore mining company MMX Mineração e Metalicos to a fund owned by the government of Abu Dhabi and led by billionaire Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

While Batista will remain the largest shareholder of the firm he founded in 2005, Reuters reports that the share handover to Abu Dhabi investment fund Mubadala Development Company will cut the tycoon’s stake in MMX to 46%.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of September 2014.

The ex-billionaire has spent the last 18 months watching his empire slowly crumble to pieces. In January 2013, Brazil’s tax agency struck MMX with a $1.8 billion tax fine, an amount equivalent to nearly 80% of its market value at the time. Two months later, the firm reported a much-higher-than-expected $400 million loss.

Since then Batista's lenders grew anxious, and the tycoon had to reorganize — and subsequently lose control of — his declining empire.

In October his oil company OGX Petróleo e Gas Participações SA (BVMF:OGXP3) filed for bankruptcy, and logistics business LLX (BMVF:LLXL3) was taken over by U.S. equity fund EIG.

The businessman, only two years ago one of the ten richest people in the world, has lost billions from his commodities and logistics empire — EBX — and is now estimated to be worth less than $200 million, including debt.