Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Ltd called talks of any stake sale in the mining major “untrue and baseless” on Thursday, after a media report said the tycoon was weighing selling less than 5% stake in the company.
Bloomberg News reported citing people familiar with the matter that Agarwal was studying options including selling a minority stake in Vedanta, as he looked to shrink his commodities business empire’s massive debt load. However, a Vedanta spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Reuters that “any talk of stake sale in Vedanta Ltd is untrue and baseless.”
A 5% stake in $12.3 billion-Vedanta would be worth some $615 million, according to Reuters calculations. Shares of Vedanta fell as much as 6.3% on Thursday after the report to their lowest since early March before cutting some losses.
A stake sale in Vedanta is a last resort for Agarwal and will only be considered if other fundraising options fail, according to the report. Vedanta Resources, the majority shareholder of Vedanta Ltd, has been looking to cut its debt through a $3 billion zinc asset sale to Hindustan Zinc but has faced stiff opposition from the Indian government, which owns a stake in Hindustan Zinc.
Last month, Vedanta Resources said it had slashed net debt by $2 billion in the past 11 months, with plans to cut it further, seeking to allay concerns after S&P Global Ratings raised doubts about the group’s financial health.