Vedanta says Anglo American stake buy meets Gov’t criteria

Vedanta, the natural resources company controlled by one of India’s richest men, said Monday its foreign subsidiary Cairn India Holdings’ $200 million investment in Anglo American (LON:AAL) met all governance requirements.

The company, India’s largest miner and No. 1 iron ore exporter, said the deal was made on an arms-length basis in December 2018, adding it provided “significantly higher” returns compared to other overseas cash management investments that would typically return around 2%.

Moody’s has placed Vedanta on review for potential downgrade following last week's controversial investment in Anglo American.

The statement comes after shares in the company lost a fifth of their value on Friday as investors were sceptical of the deal struck by Volcan, Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal’s family trust.

On Thursday, Vedanta said Cairn India had paid $208 million to buy a stake in Anglo American from its parent Volcan Investments, as part of its "cash management activities".

The unit also agreed to make deferred payments aggregating $353 million until October 2020, Rating agency Moody’s said on Monday, which makes the investment bigger than many had realized.

Moody’s, which has a non-investment grade rating on Vedanta, has placed it on review for a possible downgrade following the purchase.

In a note to investors, the rating agency said the deal was a means to “fund the risk appetite of its shareholder”, and a clear indication of the company’s willingness to deploy cash at Vedanta to support Volcan interests.

Agarwal’s decision last year to take its company private was seen by some as a prelude to a potentially broader deal with Anglo American, the world's fifth-largest miner by market value,

Volcan Investments holds around 19% in Anglo American.