Glencore Xstrata PLC (LON:GLEN) said Sunday it has sold its interest in the Las Bambas copper mine in Peru to a Chinese consortium led by Hong Kong-listed MMG Ltd (HKG:1208).
The deal follows months of tortuous negotiations over how much the copper project is worth.
Glencore sale aligns with Chinese regulator’s conditions
In May, a mega-merger between Swiss commodities giant Glencore and Xstrata, a Switzerland-based mining company, was announced. The newly-merged mining giant Glencore Xstrata PLC (LON:GLEN) announced that its fusion would create synergies allowing it to save at least $2.0 billion (1.5 billion euros) in 2014.
The company also said it planned to slash its capital spending by a full $3.5 billion between 2013 and 2015. This amount excluded the Las Bambas mine in Peru, which Glencore Xstrata planned to sell of this year in accordance with a condition set by Chinese regulatory authorities before they green-lighted the fusion between the two Swiss companies last year.
Glencore Xstrata PLC (LON:GLEN) said Sunday it had sold its interest to a consortium led by MMG Ltd, the offshore arm of China Minmetals Corp. The other consortium partners are Hong Kong-based Guoxin International Investment Corp Ltd and China’s Citic Metal Co Ltd.
With China already the world’s top consumer of copper and with the deep pockets of China’s state-owned enterprises and China’s hunger for copper, a Chinese buyer had been considered a virtual certainty since Las Bambas was put on the block.
Largest since 2008
Citing Dealogic, Alexis Flynn of The Wall Street Journal points out that Sunday’s acquisition is the largest Chinese purchase of an overseas mining asset since state-owned Aluminum Corp. of China, or Chinalco took a 12% stake in Anglo-Australian mining company Rio Tinto plc (ADR) (NYSE:RIO) (LON:RIO) for $14 billion in 2008.
Similar to the Chinalco deal, this latest deal gives China greater control of the raw materials its industries crave. Las Bambas is expected to produce 460,000 metric tons of copper concentrate annually over the next 10 years. The proceeds of the deal will be reinvested in the company and used to reduce debt, according to Glencore Xstrata PLC (LON:GLEN).