Billionaire Rinehart Willing to Buy Back GVK Shares

Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart, who sold a majority stake in her Hancock Prospecting Pty’s coal projects to India’s GVK Group last year, said she is happy to buy back shares in the venture if it needs funds.

“I have told GVK I would love to be in the project more,” Rinehart told reporters on a visit to the southern city of Hyderabad, where she meet officials of the group.

GVK would prefer to sell stakes to companies it plans to supply coal to, she said. “They would like to bring in the market. So think I just need to wait.”

The Hyderabad-based company plans to raise $3.5 billion by December by selling stakes in a unit as well as in its Australian mines and rail and port projects in Queensland state, G.V. Sanjay Reddy, the vice chairman of GVK, said in June.

Foreign investors and banks have expressed an interest in the coal project, in which GVK owns a 79 percent stake and Hancock has 21 percent, said Rinehart, who is Asia’s richest woman. Her fortune is estimated at $18.4 billion by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Revenue from the joint venture with GVK is important for Australia, Rinehart said.

Australia last month halted a federal environmental review of the $10 billion coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin because of a disagreement with the state government.

GVK expects environmental approvals from Australia for the project to come through this quarter, Reddy told reporters in Hyderabad. The project is set to close in the first quarter of 2013, he said.

Authorities in Canberra halted the review of the project, which includes a thermal coal mine, a 495-kilometer (308-mile) railway line and expansion at the port of Abbot Point, on concern unchecked development of ports will damage the Great Barrier Reef.

GVK has provided all information to win environmental approval and expects to get the mining lease and all environmental clearances by September, Reddy said previously.

Shares of GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd., the group’s listed unit, closed at 15.35 rupees on June 29, up 4.1 percent.

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