World's No.1 copper miner Codelco seeks outside financing for its $27bn investment plan

Chile’s State-owned Codelco has decided to seek outside financing to implement its $27 billion investment plan for 2012-2016, placing Tuesday a $750 million bond.

In a note to the country's securities regulator SVS, the world's largest copper miner said the 10-year bond has an annual coupon of 4.50% and a yield of 4.517% a year.

With the move, the giant copper company marks the beginning of a fresh financing strategy based on issuing new bonds in international markets.

Codelco’s decision comes on the heels of a government decision to reduce available funding for 2014 to $1 billion from the requested $4.2 billion.

Despite the setback, the Chilean state miner is optimistic and expects to increase annual copper production to about 2.2 million tonnes from current level of 1.8 million tonnes.

As a result, Codelco has been upgraded by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) two notches to AA- level, the highest company rating in South America. This is the fourth-highest attainable level, equal to Japan’s, which will reduce its future borrowing costs.

On Monday, Mining Minister Hernán de Solminihac said Chile expects mining investment to reach $112bn by 2021, figure that includes the $27bn planned by Codelco.

With the updated figure, copper production in Chile is expected to reach an annual 8.1 million metric tons by 2021, Solminihac was quoted as saying by EFE (in Spanish).

Copper, which accounts for 60% of the country's exports and 15% of gross domestic product, will represent 77% of investment, the minister added.

Image: Codelco's El Salvador division via Flickr Commons