Mick Davis scores $3.75 billion to build new mining empire

Mick Davis , building new mid-tier miner with X2 Resources

After losing out in the Glencore takeover last year, former Xstrata chief executive Mick Davis, has been staging a comeback and by now he has $3.75 billion from investors to spend doing what he likes the most: buying assets to eventually turn his X2 Resources into a midsize metal and mining group.

The London-based company said Monday it had secured $2.50 billion of committed funding and a further $1.25 billion of conditional funding from a group of five investors, each contributing equally.

The group includes Singapore-listed trading company Noble Group, private-equity firm TPG Capital, and three sovereign wealth and pension fund investors. X2 Resources declined to name the funds, or detail the conditions attached to the financing.

According to the company, today’s announcement represents a “critical milestone” and enables X2 Resources’ investment activities to begin.

In September last year trading house Noble Group and American private equity firm TPG Capital helped Davis secure $1 billion, while Australian private equity fund IFM Investors is said to be close to announcing a $500 million investment. And while the mining veteran needs a bit more than that, Bloomberg sources said he may initially limit the number of investors in X2 to six or seven, with each providing $500 million.

It doesn’t seem a coincidence that the new company’s name is X2, as the venture is a clear effort to replicate South Africa-born Davis’ success at Xstrata.

The team behind X2, which also involves former Xstrata finance director Trevor Reid, believes the firm could profit from picking up assets other mining companies, under financial strain of getting funds for ongoing projects, are forced to sell at very low price.

Davis built his career on this “stronger-for-longer” theory that was centred on he belief that urbanization in China, India and some parts of sub-Saharan African would send the prices soaring for the copper used in everything from plumbing to the coal burned in electricity plants.

Backed by Glencore, which owned 34% of Xstrata before the companies merged in the spring of 2013, Xstrata went from a $500 million business in the early part of the last decade to an operation so big that it, at one point, made a takeover offer for Anglo American (LON:AAL).

Since Davis unveiled X2 Resources last year, he has been reportedly looking mainly for copper, zinc assets and other easily-traded commodities with exposure to emerging markets, such as base metals and coal.

Image: Screengrab from YouTube.