Brazilian business tycoon Eike Batista and his mining company MMX Mineracao e Metalicos SA (BVMF:MMXM3) announced late Monday that they will sell a controlling stake in Batista’s iron-ore port in Itaguai for $400 million. The acquirers are Dutch investment fund Trafigura Group and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co.
Eike Batista on an asset-sale spree
Mubadala and Trafigura will gain a 65% stake in PortCo, a unit of Eike Batista’s MMX Mineracao e Metalicos SA (BVMF:MMXM3), which controls the Sudeste port in Itaguai, 56 miles west of Rio de Janeiro. The new owners of PortCo will also assume a debt of 1.3 billion Brazilian reais ($596 million). MMX will retain a 35% stake in the port, reports Matthew Cowley of The Wall Street Journal. The deal is subject to government approvals. MMX expects to complete the transaction by the end of this year.
The latest asset sale shows how Eike Batista is trying to shore up its floundering business empire. Eike Batista was one of the world’s richest men last year, with a net worth of about $30 billion. Today he is out of the billionaires’ club altogether.
Mubadala is already a major investor in Eike Batista’s holding company EBX Group. The Brazilian has sold a number of assets over the past few months. Batista sold his port developer LLX Logistica SA (OTCMKTS:LLXLY) (BVMF:LLXL3) to EIG Management Co. for $560 million. In July, German company E.ON SE (FRA:EOAN) (ETR:EOAN) (OTCMKTS:EONGY) acquired a significant stake in Eike Batista’s power generation business MMX Mineracao e Metalicos SA (BVMF:MMXM3). On September 2, he sold 2.07 million shares in OSX BRASIL SA (BVMF:OSXB3). OSX Brasil SA shares have tumbled more than 90% over the last 12 months.
The beginning of Eike Batista’s decline
Eike Batista’s downward journey began when his flagship oil firm OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA (BVMF:OGXP3) failed to live up to oil production expectations. Debt-ridden OGX stopped further development of its major oil fields. Earlier this month, it failed to pay creditors $45 million. And now the oil company has sought restructuring of $3.6 billion in bonds. According to Bloomberg, the company plans to file for bankruptcy later this month.
That shattered investors’ confidence in Eike Batista’s industrial conglomerate. Most of his businesses are start-ups that haven’t started earning profits yet.