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Equinox May Sell Lundin Assets to Cut Debt, CEO Says

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March 10 (Bloomberg) -- Equinox Minerals Ltd., which is taking on a $3.2 billion loan to help finance a bid for Lundin Mining Corp., would consider selling some of its target’s assets to reduce debt.

“We would consider asset sales in the context of non-core, non-copper assets,” Craig Williams, chief executive of the Perth-based company, said today on an analyst call. Equinox may sell Lundin’s Zinkgruvan zinc mine in Sweden, he said.

Equinox bid C$4.8 billion ($4.95 billion) last month for Lundin, challenging an agreed takeover from Inmet Mining Corp. Equinox has a $3.2 billion bridging loan arranged through Goldman Sachs Lending Partners and Credit Suisse Securities.

The company will seek to restructure about $700 million of the loan “as soon as practical,” Williams said. It plans to move the remainder into convertible debt facilities and high-yield bonds, he said.

Equinox fell 4.7 percent to A$5.12 at the 4:10 p.m. Sydney time close on the Australian stock exchange, bringing losses so far this year to 15 percent.

Lundin has a stake in a copper and cobalt venture in the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as operations in Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Sweden.

Copper producers have been involved in deals worth $9.7 billion so far this quarter, the most since the fourth quarter of 2006, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, as companies seek to tap rising demand, driven by China, the world’s largest metal consumer. The nation is only 19 percent self-sufficient in the metal used in wiring and tubes, according to Citigroup Inc..

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisabeth Behrmann in Sydney at ebehrmann1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Hobbs at ahobbs4@bloomberg.net