Vale confirms plans to sell stake in $35 billion base metals unit

World’s top iron ore producer Vale (NYSE:VALE) plans to sell a minority stake of its global base metals unit, which is finally starting to contribute to profits after years of delays, accidents and stoppages, in an effort to deal with the ongoing price collapse of the commodity.

Chief Financial Officer Luciano Siani told Bloomberg TV the Brazilian miner is analyzing funding options for projects and an IPO seems to be the most obvious approach.

CEO Murilo Ferreira, who is visiting investors in New York and London this week, could outline the plan to list a new entity in Toronto and the UK as early as today, according to Reuters’ sources. They added that Vale is likely to retain a majority interest in the new company if it goes ahead with the plan.

The Rio de Janeiro-based firm has been increasing iron ore production at a record pace at a time of slowing demand in China, the largest consumer of metals, has pushed down prices of the steelmaking material to the lowest in more than five years.

Vale’s iron ore business contributed 62% of the company’s gross revenue in the third quarter.

Prices for the commodity returned Tuesday to levels above $70 a tonne after a weak November trading period that saw iron ore trading as low as $68 a tonne.

Cutting capex

The company said Tuesday morning it would reduce its investment budget for 2015 to $10.2 billion from the $12.5 billion previously announced, as the company looks to avoid a cash flow squeeze in the midst of an iron ore price that has halved this year.

The company also said it expected to produce 340 million tonnes of iron ore in 2015.

Waste dumping case

The company is also making news today as a Canadian case involving allegations against the firm has reopened this week after a six-month break. The company, reports The Western Star, faces allegations of illegal dumping of liquid waste into Anaktalak Bay in Labrador, Newfoundland.

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