Bloomberg News

NMDC May Pay $300 Million for Mozambique, Russian Coal Mines

January 06, 2012

Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- NMDC Ltd., India’s largest iron ore producer, plans to acquire two coking coal mines in Mozambique and Russia for about $300 million to feed its planned steel plant in India.

Talks are on to acquire a mine with 360 million metric tons of deposits in Mozambique’s Tete province and an 80 million-ton mine in Russia’s Kemorovo region, Chairman Narendra Kumar Nanda said today in a phone interview. The company is also considering buying an iron ore and manganese mine in Brazil’s Amapa province, he said, without elaborating.

Lack of access to local mines and rising global prices of coking coal are eroding profits at Indian steelmakers, spurring them to look for acquisitions overseas. NMDC, which has 210 billion rupees ($4 billion) of cash on hand, is building a 3 million ton steel plant in central India and a similar-sized plant jointly with Russia’s OAO Severstal in southern India.

“We want to be prepared when our steel mills start operating,” said Nanda, who took charge on Jan. 1. “We can bring some coal from these mines to our plants and sell the rest for hedging purposes.”

NMDC expects to appoint advisers by the end of this month to carrying out the due diligence for the assets, he said.

The shares fell as much as 1.5 percent to 169 rupees and traded at 170.40 rupees as of 9:36 a.m. in Mumbai. The stock has declined 39 percent in the past year, compared with a 21 percent drop in the benchmark Sensitive Index.

--Editors: Indranil Ghosh, Ryan Woo

To contact the reporter on this story: Rajesh Kumar Singh in New Delhi at rsingh133@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at aprakash1@bloomberg.net


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