Tuesday 16 January 2018

Dublin's Regent eyes $5bn mine in Glencore sale

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Dubliner Aaron Regent is said to be eyeing a $5bn bid for one of Glencore's Peruvian copper mines.

Regent, who moved to Canada when he was young, is one of the key players on the international resources market. He was the highest-paid CEO in Canada in 2010, when he earned $24m for running Barrick Gold. He was ousted in a boardroom battle in 2012.

Regent, 47, set up Magris Resources, a specialist metal buyout fund, earlier this year. It has been strongly linked with a bid for the Las Bambas mine in Peru. Magris has raised money from private and institutional investors to hoover up choice assets across the resources sector. It was earlier named as a bidder for BHP Billiton's $650m-valued Pinto Valley mine in Arizona.

Regent is facing a shoot-out with some serious heavyweights as he seeks to land the first huge deal for his new outfit. Glencore Xstrata, the global commodity trader and metals producer run by Ivan Glasenberg, also expects as many as four Chinese bidders for its Peruvian copper mine that may be valued at more than $5bn.

"There are groups forming together and combining," CEO Glasenberg told reporters in London last week. "We see there will be at least three to four groups bidding. There is some other outside interest besides the Chinese consortiums." A first round of bids is due next week, he said.

Chinese companies including Chinalco Mining, MMG and Citic Resources are among those studying offers for Las Bambas, people with knowledge of the process have said.

Glencore, based in Baar, Switzerland, is selling the mine as part of an agreement to win Chinese regulatory approval for its $29bn takeover of Xstrata this year.

The National Development and Reform Commission, China's economic planning agency that approves all major overseas acquisitions, usually restricts state-owned companies from making rival offers.

"We understand the NDRC sometimes doesn't allow them to compete, but I think the interest that we've seen in China is very robust," Glasenberg said. "There is very strong interest from some big major groups and they are not in the consortium, so it seems that they are going to compete."

The Las Bambas mine is scheduled to produce 400,000 metric tonnes of copper a year, starting in 2015, for at least the first five years. Xstrata said in January it was building the project at a cost of $5.2bn.

Glencore, the biggest publicly traded raw-materials supplier, hopes to close the sale by year-end, Glasenberg said. The deal may not be completed until the first half of next year, CFO Steven Kalmin said. (Additional reporting by Bloomberg)

Sunday Independent

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