Agarwal’s Vedanta seeks cash with $500m bond maturing

18th May 2023

By: Bloomberg


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Billionaire Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Group is looking to free up cash and raise funds, possibly via a loan, as its $500-million junk-rated bond matures at the end of this month.

The board of Vedanta will consider paying out a first dividend for the current business year at an upcoming meeting, according to a statement. The Indian mining conglomerate is also in talks with banks to raise at least $500-million, according to people familiar with the matter.

Agarwal’s Vedanta Resources is relying heavily on money from its units to reduce its debt load after it failed to generate $3-billion via the sale of a zinc mining unit to Hindustan Zinc.

Mumbai-based Vedanta paid out about $4.6-billion in five dividends to its London-based parent last financial year. Yet weaker metals prices and high costs crimped its most recent quarterly profit, potentially limiting the scope for more dividends.

The prospect of fresh funds cheered investors, with the Mumbai-listed shares of Vedanta rising as much as 1.7% on Thursday. The $500-million May 31 bond pulled off the previous day’s more-than-three-week low and was trading up 0.3 cents at 96.99 cents per dollar at 1:01pm in Hong Kong.

Proceeds from the loan, with a maturity of as much as 5 years, would be used to for a bond repayment, said the people, who declined to be identified because the matter is private.

Adding lenders may take deal size to $900-million, the sources said. The loan will be guaranteed by Vedanta.

Vedanta Resources said in April it had cut gross debt by $1-billion. Investors have been closely watching its debt load as surging interest rates worldwide intensify pressure on low-rated borrowers.

When asked about the fundraising, a spokesman for Vedanta said that as a growing company, it routinely met investors, bankers and financiers.

“This is only natural,” he said. “As a transparent company we have always disclosed funding once it is finalized. We will continue to do that.”

The Vedanta board is scheduled to meet and approve the dividend on May 22, according to a stock exchange filing.

Edited by Bloomberg


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