Minmetals plans more overseas M&As

By Zhang Qi (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-06-17 11:11
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BEIJING - China Minmetals Group, the nation's largest metals trader, is planning more overseas mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in ferrous metals this year to bolster its raw material supplies.

The company is looking for overseas mining assets in iron ore, chromium, manganese and coal, mainly in Australia, Canada, the Middle East and South Africa, said an unnamed Minmetals source.

"These sectors are major tasks for overseas M&As in ferrous metals this year," said the source from the ferrous metal sector.

China Minmetals' Australian unit Minerals & Metals Group (MMG), which is in the nonferrous metal business, said in a statement on Wednesday that it was identifying M&A targets in nations including Australia.

Minmetals already has successful overseas acquisition experience. It paid $1.4 billion last June for Oz Minerals, including the Rosebery zinc mines in Australia.

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Minmetals Chairman Zhou Zhongshu said earlier this year that the company would look at overseas M&As to become a globally competitive mining group. He said its overseas subsidiary MMG would serve as an international investment platform, and it will continue monitoring mining assets and deals at low costs.

In spite of the revenue decline due to lower commodity prices, the company's assets grew 136 percent as it successfully acquired several domestic and overseas mining assets.

Chinese companies have been active in overseas mining investment in recent years to expand mineral wealth.

China, which dominated the global mining and metals transactions market in 2009, has already seen a strong start in the first quarter of 2010 in global mining transactions, with outbound value and volume going up 247 percent and 225 percent respectively, according to a recent report from Ernst & Young.

The report said Chinese investment in the overseas mining sector will still go up this year, but its market share of global mining transactions might drop considering the strong competition from other countries recovering from financial crisis.