Hindalco aims to raise $300m via Birla listing

INDIAN aluminium and copper giant Hindalco Industries Ltd plans to raise almost $300 million through the Australian Stock Exchange via the listing of Birla Minerals Ltd, the owner of the Nifty copper mine near Telfer. In its prospectus, Birla chairman Debu Bhattacharya said the funds raised would primarily go towards repaying the subsidiary company’s debt as well as funding growth opportunities. The float’s timing coincides not only with the bull resources market but specifically the strong rise in copper prices during the past 12 months. The lead manager of the float is UBS, co-managed by its subsidiary Bell Potter Securities, and Ord Minnett. The float involves the issue 154 million shares at $1.95 each to raise $299 million which, if successful, will result in Hindalco’s stake in Birla falling to 51 per cent and give the new ASX company a market capitalisation of $600 million. The company has forecast EBITDA for next financial year of $149 million (up from a forecast $29 million) and a net profit of $48 million (up from a forecast loss this financial year of $16.8 million). Birla’s revenue is expected to hit $188.1 million this financial year, up from $138.6 million last year. The company made losses of between $23 million and $24 million for the past two financial years. Hindalco bought Nifty three years ago from Straits Resources Ltd for about $80 million and is currently developing an underground mine and 70,000 tonne concentration plant. Through the Birla subsidiary, the company also owns the Mt Gordon mine in Queensland. It bought that mine from Western Metals Ltd in 2003 for about $20 million.

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