London: The largest copper producer in India, Vedanta Resources Plc., said its June quarter profit slumped 52% after prices of metals declined.

Optimistic approach: Vedanta chairman Anil Agarwal. The firm hopes to buy the government’s stake in its two group firms soon. Indranil Bhoumik / Mint

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, or ebitda, fell to $354.7 million (around Rs1,710 crore) in the three months ended 30 June, from $739 million a year earlier, the London-based company said in a statement on Friday.

Vedanta curbed spending by at least $5 billion and suspended some aluminium operations last year after raw-material demand plunged. Copper, used to make wires and pipes, averaged $4,707.80 a tonne in the quarter, 43% lower than a year earlier. Zinc averaged 30% less and aluminium 49% less. Quarterly sales dropped 33% to $1.36 billion, Vedanta said.

Production of copper cathode, a finished form of the metal, rose 15% to 78,000 tonnes at Vedanta’s Indian and Australian units. Copper output in Zambia increased 19% to 43,000 tonnes.

Output of refined zinc, used to make steel rust-proof, rose 8.6% to 139,000 tonnes, while aluminium production gained 26% to 125,000 tonnes.

The Anil Agarwal-controlled firm has at least doubled this year in London trading, the second biggest gain in the 14-company FTSE 350 Mining Index after Kazakhmys Plc.

The firm hopes to buy out the government’s minority equity in its group firms Bharat Aluminium Co. Ltd, or Balco, and Hindustan Zinc Ltd in the next three-four months, vice-chairman Naveen Agarwal said.

The government now holds a 49% stake in Balco and a 29.5% stake in Hindustan Zinc. The balance of Hindustan Zinc’s equity is held by the public.

“As far as our call options are concerned, in the case of Balco, we are currently in arbitration; a couple of arbitration meetings have taken place, and, hopefully, we believe that based on the arbitration proceedings, we should see a successful closure of this in the next three to four months," Agarwal said.

Agarwal said he hoped the company would be able to also acquire the minority stake of the government in Hindustan Zinc by the end of this year.

“We continue to be engaged with the government on this matter and we believe that in view of the current environment on disinvestment, (the company) should see the closure during the current year," he added.

(‘PTI’ contributed to this story.)