Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal is planning to increase its investment in Anglo American (LON:AAL) by as much as 1.5 billion pounds ($2 billion), which would make him the biggest shareholder in the diversified miner.
The acquisition of further shares will be done through Volcan Investments Ltd., the family trust of Agarwal, who is the founder and chairman of Vedanta (LON:VED), India’s largest mining company.
The move could give Agarwal a commanding voice at Anglo American, the world’s fifth-largest miner by market value, which the businessman described earlier this year as “a great company with excellent assets and a strong board and management team who are executing a focused strategy.”
The investment comes on top of the 12.43% stake he’s built since March, when Volcan boosted its holding in Anglo American..
While some interpret today’s announcement as the beginning of an Anglo takeover, Agarwal has repeatedly said he doesn’t intend to take control of the company. A dubious statement, as the Indian tycoon already approached the London-listed miner last year with an offer to merge with Hindustan Zinc, a mining firm he controls through Vedanta.
But Anglo stopped the approach in its tracks saying a deal didn’t make sense and wasn’t feasible.
The planned investment is a major vote of confidence in Anglo American, which has staged an impressive turnaround since commodity prices began climbing last year. In February, the firm logged a profit of $1.6 billion for 2016, its first annual revenue in five years.
“We are encouraged by the performance of Anglo American since our original investment earlier this year,” Agarwal said in the statement. “The company has made good progress in its operational and financial performance and remains an attractive investment for our family trust,” he added.