MOSCOW (Reuters) - Trader Glencore (0805.HK) (GLEN.L) has trimmed its ambitions to control Kazakh zinc producer Kazzinc, announcing a revised cash and shares agreement worth up to $1.4 billion, less than half the original deal, to raise its stake to just under 70 percent.
The revised move - at a time when Glencore is in the final throes to take over miner Xstrata XTA.L - values Kazzinc at a lower price and will involve less cash. That could reassure credit ratings agencies which had pointed to the purchase as one where the acquisitive trader, with a rating of two notches above junk, could cut back on cash strain.
Glencore, the world’s largest diversified commodities trader, said at the time of its listing in May last year that it would raise its 50.7 percent stake in Kazzinc, one of Glencore’s most substantial subsidiaries, to 93 percent, spending $3.2 billion including $2.2 billion in cash.
The plan then had been to boost control of the producer but also to eventually list the gold assets, which together amount to the largest gold producer in Kazakhstan, separately. A listing, however, is unlikely to be imminent in the current market environment, analysts said, easing pressure on Glencore to raise its stake above 90 percent.
In a statement released overnight, which prompted a temporary halt in trading of Glencore’s Hong Kong shares, Glencore said the total price tag, including additional cash or shares, will not exceed $1.4 billion.
The new deal will include at least 176 million shares, to be issued to the seller, Verny Capital, the trader said.
“The deal looks to be a ‘cash light’ way of creeping up its ownership in Kazzinc, using only $400 million in cash, depending on stock value,” analysts at Liberum said, adding the revised offer valued Kazzinc at $5.4 billion, compared to an original valuation of $6.57 billion.
Glencore, whose London shares were 1.8 percent lower at 1222 GMT, had said in August it was reviewing the structure of the Kazzinc deal, in part, analysts have said, because a spin-off of the subsidiary’s gold assets was unlikely.
The deal should complete this year.
Glencore is in the final stage of its long-awaited deal to buy the shares in miner Xstrata it does not already own. Britain’s takeover regulator has given Xstrata until October 1 to decide whether to accept a revised offer from Glencore.
Glencore, already Xstrata’s biggest shareholder, raised its offer to 3.05 shares for every Xstrata share held from a previous offer of 2.8 shares, in a last-ditch attempt to rescue the deal after Xstrata’s second-biggest investor, Qatar Holding, demanded improved terms in June.
While improving the offer, Glencore also tweaked the terms of the deal, allowing Glencore’s chief executive Ivan Glasenberg to take over the helm of the combined business from Xstrata chief Mick Davis within six months.
Additional reporting by Twinnie Siu and Denny Thomas; Editing by Mike Nesbit