After losing out in the Glencore (LON:GLEN) takeover last year, former Xstrata chief executive Mick Davis has been staging a comeback and by now he’s got $4.8 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.
“With almost $5bn in equity and access to significant additional debt funding, X2 Resources is uniquely positioned and we are currently reviewing a number of opportunities in the metals and mining sector,” Davis said in a statement Wednesday.
The war chest built up by Davis’ new venture, however, has yet to be put to use. As CFO of Billiton at the time of the merger with BHP, “Big Mick”, is said to have already tried (and failed) to pick up the mining giant’s unloved assets that will go in the split.
X2 began raising capital in September last year when Hong Kong-based commodities trader Noble Group and private equity firm TPG together stumped up $1bn. At that time five cornerstone investors, who each committed $500m also conditionally agreed to provide another $250m.
“Mick The Miner”, as he is also known in the industry, built his career on this “stronger-for-longer” theory, based on the 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.
The 56-year-old South African entrepreneur and the rest of the team behind X2, which also involves former Xstrata finance director Trevor Reid, believe 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 is only one of the many former chiefs of mining companies who have recently launched investment vehicles.
Ex-Barrick Gold (TSX, NYSE: ABX) boss, Aaron Regent, is another one who has grab headlines this month as earlier this month he struck his first deal, spending $500 million in a niobium mine and rare earth deposit from Canadian miner Iamgold Corp. (TSX: IMG) (NYSE:IAG).