Sad day for Batista: MMX iron ore almost sold

Once Brazil’s richest businessman, Eike Batista, is in “advanced talks” to sell its flagship iron ore company, MMX Mineração e Metálicos S.A., to competitor Vetria Mineraçao SA.

According to InfoLatam (in Portuguese), MMX is finalizing a deal with Vetria, controlled by ALL Logistica, that could imply selling the entire company, or just ceding its mining rights in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

MMX, which has an annual production capacity of 10.8 million tons of iron ore, was founded by Batista in 2005.

In January this year, Brazil’s tax agency struck MMX with a $1.8 billion tax fine, an amount equivalent to nearly 80% of its market value. Two months later, the firm reported a much-higher-than-expected $400 million loss.

Since then Batista's lenders have grown anxious, and market rumours indicate the mining magnate will have to reorganize — and subsequently lose control of — his declining empire.

The businessman, only  a year 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 only around $200 million, including debt.

His six companies under EBX's umbrella — OGX, MPX, LLX, MMX, OSX and CCX — have lost a combined $9.7 billion this year, as per August 1st.