(Mint)
(Mint)

Vedanta sinks 20% on weak Q3 earnings, Anglo American stake buy

  • Vedanta stock slumped as much as 19.86% on Friday, the largest intraday fall since October 2008
  • Vedanta on Thursday posted a 21.1% decline in third-quarter profit that still beat estimates

Bengaluru: Shares of Vedanta Ltd slumped to a two-and-a-half-year low on Friday after analysts expressed concerns over an investment by a unit of the company in African miner Anglo American.

Vedanta said on Thursday its foreign unit Cairn India Holdings Ltd had paid $200 million to buy a stake in Anglo American from Volcan Investments Ltd, the miner's parent company, as a part of its "cash management activities".

The miner's returns from the deal depends on Anglo American's stock price and returns are not guaranteed, Morgan Stanley said in a note.

"While there is some downside protection for Vedanta in specific scenarios (not clarified by the management), returns are not guaranteed," Morgan Stanley said.

The stock slumped as much as 19.86% on Friday, the largest intraday fall since October 2008. More than 74 million shares — 7.4 times its 30-day average — had changed hands by early afternoon, making it the most-heavily traded security on the NSE index.

Industry players too have speculated that Agarwal, who controls about a fifth of Anglo American, wants some form of a tie-up with the global miner.

In September last year, Vedanta Resources' Chairman Anil Agarwal's decision to take the London-listed miner private was seen by some as a prelude to a potentially broader deal with bigger miner Anglo American.

Kotak's analysts in a note said that while Vedanta stated the investment is to earn higher returns, they fail to see merit in the arrangement.

Industrial metals prices are set for their biggest annual fall in years after signs of slowing growth in China's commodities-hungry economy and a US-China trade war, potentially affecting global mining firms.

Vedanta on Thursday posted a 21.1% decline in third-quarter profit that still beat estimates.

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