Vedanta to create $10 billion fund to bid for BPCL stake, other assets: Chairman

Mining firm Vedanta Resources Ltd plans to create a $10 billion fund to bid for assets including the Indian government’s stake in Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), its chairman told Reuters on Thursday. The Indian government is seeking to privatise state-run refiner BPCL by selling its near 53% stake in the firm, worth just over $6 billion, to private entities. “We are in the process of creating a fund of $10 billion,” Anil Agarwal said in an interview in Dubai. “It will not only look at (BPCL) but there are other companies being privatised. It will look at the potential of those companies also.”

The fund will be made up of its own resources and outside investment, Agarwal said, adding that it may also finance the BPCL acquisition through debt. “We will work out a structure, we are doing the due diligence,” he said. “As soon as the date comes, we will firm up and work out on how we take the money and go about it.” “There is no large fund which does not want to associate with us in general. Money will never be a problem,” he added.

London-headquartered Vedanta Resources, founded by Agarwal in 2003, has grown its annual revenues from $1 million to over $15 billion in the past decade. As well as its operations in India, the group has mining interests in South Africa and a precious metal refinery and copper rod plant in the United Arab Emirates’ Fujairah Free Zone. It is also exploring opportunities for new zinc, gold and magnesium mines in Saudi Arabia. Agarwal said $2 billion worth of investment will be required to tap opportunities in the kingdom. “They (Saudi Arabia) are coming out in March with full details,” he said. “They are inviting very serious, interested people to come and participate and look at joint ventures.” Agarwal also said the company aims to become zero-carbon by 2050, and will invest $5 billion in the medium term to reduce its carbon footprint.

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