Mongolia to Sell Stake in Biggest Coal Mine to Revive Growth

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Chimed Saikhanbileg
Mongolia's Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg pauses during an interview in London. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

Mongolia is planning to sell stakes in 10 state-owned enterprises over this year and next as well as its biggest coal mine as the nation seeks to revive growth and boost foreign investment in one of the world’s tiniest stock exchanges.

The government intends to offload holdings in power plants and other businesses, according to Angar Davaasuren, chief executive officer of the bourse. A stake in the $4 billion Tavan Tolgoi coal mine will also be on offer, he said in an interview with Bloomberg News in London on Friday.

Mongolia, the landlocked country situated between China and Russia, is seeking to lure overseas money managers to unlock natural resources which the government says are worth about $1.3 trillion. Economic growth in the country of 3 million eased to 7.8 percent in 2014 -- the first year of single digit expansion since 2010 -- amid weaker commodity prices and high-profile disputes with foreign investors.

“We are seeing the next year with much more optimism” after growth slows to 5.3 percent in 2015, Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg said in an interview in London.

The Mongolian currency, the tugrik, has slumped 35 percent over the past 24 months, while foreign-direct investment plunged from $4.5 billion in 2012 to $382 million last year.

Market Rallies

A deal to develop the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine in Mongolia is expected to be reached within two months, Byambasaikhan Bayanjargal, the chief executive of Erdenes Mongol LLC which controls the coking coal deposit, said in an interview in May. About 20 to 30 percent of the mine may be offered to international investors in London or Hong Kong in the next two to three years, Davaasuren said on Friday.

The government may also sell 66 percent of the Mongolia Stock Exchange to the public, the bourse chief said. With a market capitalization of about $690 million, according to the exchange, the bourse is smaller than 85 global peers whose sizes are tracked by Bloomberg.

The MSE Top 20 Index surged 18 percent in June, the steepest advance in the world, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Mongolia is also looking to sell up to $1 billion in foreign debt this year, targeting either five- or 10-year notes, Khurelbaatar Gantsogt, the Finance Ministry’s state secretary, said in an interview in London on Friday.

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