Saudi Arabian Mining Co., the kingdom’s biggest metals producer, is looking to expand internationally through mergers and acquisitions, Chief Executive Offier Khaled Al Mudaifer said.
Deals will be focused on industrial metals and fertilizers, Mudaifer said in an interview in Riyadh. Maaden, as the company is known, wants to take advantage of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund’s relationships around the world and “build on it to be a major player in the globe,” he said.
“We have just inked this strategy,” the CEO said. “We have good internal cash balances available.”
Copper and other industrial metals prices along with gold have rallied this year, fueling more interest in mining deals. Glencore Plc is looking to take a bigger stake in Latin America’s top zinc miner and Indian mining billionaire Anil Agarwal has paid $2 billion to boost his investment in Anglo American Plc, which owns copper mines in Chile and iron ore operations in Brazil.
Maaden’s gold production surged 38 percent last year, and a joint venture with Barrick Gold Corp. started commercial production of copper concentrates in July 2016. The company also produces phosphate fertilizers, aluminum products and ammonia, according to its annual report. The company’s stock has jumped almost 30 percent this year, set for the best annual gain since the initial public offering in 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Maaden is now investing $6 billion to $7 billion on developing a new phosphate project and another $1 billion to expand gold output. As a result of rapid expansion in recent years, Maaden is “highly leveraged” and is working to cut debt, Mudaifer said.
“We refinanced the phosphate business last year. We are refinancing the aluminum business now,” the CEO said. “With these refinancing, it will change the structures and tenors of our debt. Also we are exploring local sukuk and bonds.”