Vedanta to sell overseas zinc business to India unit for $2.98 billion

Skorpion Zinc mine (Credit: Vedanta Resources)

Vedanta Ltd. will sell its international zinc operations to unit Hindustan Zinc Ltd. for $2.98 billion in cash to help consolidate the businesses and pare debt for ultimate parent, Vedanta Resources Ltd.

Rajasthan, India-based Hindustan Zinc will buy the assets of THL Zinc Ltd. Mauritius in a phased manner from its parent over a period of about 18 months, subject to regulatory approvals, the Indian miner said in an exchange filing Thursday. The operations of THL include Black Mountain Mining (Pty) Ltd. in South Africa and Skorpion Zinc (Pty) Ltd. in Namibia, it said.

“This investment is an attractive opportunity for Hindustan Zinc to grow and increase its foothold overseas and take its brand global,” it said in the filing. “This transaction will improve overall synergies between the businesses, market share gains as well as geographical diversification to a mineral-rich African continent.”

The deal is important for Vedanta’s billionaire-owner Anil Agarwal, who is seeking to simplify the corporate structure of his commodities empire and cut Vedanta Resources’ debt after a failed attempt to delist Vedanta Ltd. in 2020.

One way for Agarwal to generate cash has been to get dividend payouts from Hindustan Zinc. The company announced a third interim dividend of 13 rupees a share, totaling about 55 billion rupees ($676 million) on Thursday. This is in addition to 154 billion rupees already paid out this financial year.

Hindustan Zinc, which also appointed Agarwal’s daughter Priya Agarwal Hebbar as chairperson of the company, reported a net income for the third quarter that missed analyst estimates. Vedanta owns about 65% of the miner and the Indian government holds about 30%.

Vedanta Resources has $900 million of debt due in the first half of 2023, Bloomberg Intelligence said on Wednesday.

(By Swansy Afonso)

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