MCC bidding for Anglo's zinc assets

08:57, April 14, 2010      

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Engineering, procurement and construction major Metallurgical Corporation of China Ltd (MCC) is in the running for the zinc assets owned by diversified miner Anglo American Plc, according to company officials.

Anglo American's zinc assets include the wholly owned Skorpion and Lisheen mines in Namibia and Ireland and a 74 percent interest in the Black Mountain mine in South Africa.

According to Reuters reports, the total value of Anglo American's zinc assets could be around $1 billion. No other details were immediately available.

The London-listed Anglo American's major mining businesses include diamonds, platinum, coal and other industrial metals.

The Shanghai and Hong Kong-listed MCC is a leading international contractor for metallurgical projects and also a domestic real estate developer. The company has recently taken steps to expand its global footprint by investments in overseas mining assets.

"We intend to capitalize on the commodity price rally and the Anglo bid is in line with our strategy," said an investment relations manager from MCC on condition of anonymity.

In February, MCC agreed to pay $200 million for a 5 percent stake in Australian miner Resourcehouse Ltd. MCC also agreed to buy coal from the Australian firm and to buy a 10 percent stake in its Queensland-based China First coal project.

State-owned MCC has a good chance of winning the Anglo bid as it has deep coffers, said analysts.

Most of MCC's mining assets are located abroad, and it is line with the nation's "going-out" strategy.

"The $1 billion Anglo deal if clinched would offer returns only over the long-term and should be seen as a strategic agreement," said Peng Bo, an analyst at Guosen Securities.

Cash-rich Chinese State-owned enterprises and China Investment Corp, the nation's sovereign wealth fund, have played lead roles in fostering outbound deals for resources.

Contractors like MCC stand to gain from investments in mining projects in less developed regions as they would also get to play a key role in the infrastructure building, said the report.

Zinc prices had slumped to $1,000 a ton in 2008 after the financial crisis, but have subsequently rallied to around $2,300 a ton on the back of resurgent demand from China and India.

Swizterland-based diversified miner Xstrata Plc had offered to acquire Anglo America in 2008 when commodity prices plunged but failed to close the deal.Prominent among the other contenders for Anglo's zinc assets are miners like Xstrata, Glencore and Vedanta's Hindustan Zinc Ltd.

The pick-up in global commodity prices has also improved the financial fortunes of global miners and most of them have a considerably lower debt ratio now.

Source: China Daily


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