NMDC to buy Legacy Iron Ore for Rs92 crore

NMDC to buy Legacy Iron Ore for Rs92 crore

New Delhi/Hyderabad: State-owned NMDC has reached an agreement to purchase a 50% stake in Australia-based Legacy Iron Ore as cornerstone investor for nearly 19 million Australian dollars, which will mark the PSU’s first-ever overseas acquisition.

In a filing to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), Legacy Iron said, “The board has now agreed to a proposal from NMDC, which involves NMDC subscribing for approximately 18.89 million Australian dollars (approximately 92.21 crore, at an exchange rate of 48.81 per AUD) in equity for 50% of Legacy."

“The proposal is subject to Legacy shareholders’ approval, as well as other legal and regulatory approvals," the filing said.

When contacted, NMDC director (Finance) S. Thiagarajan told the news agency this is an initial investment and further investment will depend on project requirements.

The Legacy filing added that “the A$18.89 million will be for a minimum allocation of approximately 238 million shares, with the final number of shares to be issued and the deemed subscription price being subject to the total shares on issue at the time NMDC and Legacy execute the formal subscription agreement."

Meanwhile, after the announcement, shares of Legacy tanked by 23.68% to 0.145 cents apiece on the ASX and trading of its shares has been halted.

The deal will be first foreign acquisition for NMDC, which has been scouting for natural resources abroad in countries like Russia, United States, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Canada and South Africa, among other countries.

“We are delighted to have secured India’s National Mineral Development Corporation Limited as a cornerstone investor in Legacy. It is NMDC’s first investment outside of India and after conducting extensive due diligence on Legacy, NMDC have concluded that we are the ideal entry point for them into the Australian iron ore and resource sector," Legacy chief executive officer Sharon Heng said.

She added, “NMDC is not only providing Legacy with funding through the placement, but their presence on the register will create additional opportunities for Legacy, such as the acquisition and divestment of various projects."

The deal marks the culmination of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two firms on 24 May this year and since then, Legacy has been inundated with offers to form joint ventures and fund numerous advanced resource opportunities, Heng further said.

“With NMDC on the register and significant financial backing, upon completion of the placement, Legacy will be in a position to actively acquire such projects, to further increase shareholder value," she said.