EMR Capital Said in Advanced Talks to Buy Glencore Copper Mine

  • Sale of Australian copper mine may fetch about $400 million
  • Glencore divesting assets, cutting spending to trim debt load

EMR Capital Advisors Pty, a natural resources private equity firm, is in late-stage talks to acquire Glencore Plc’s Cobar copper mine in Australia after other bidders dropped out of the process, people with knowledge of the matter said.

EMR Capital may pay about $400 million for the mine, said the people, asking not to be identified as the details are private. The talks may still fall apart, and Glencore could end up keeping the asset, the people said.

Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg has engineered a turnaround plan at Glencore that involves selling assets and reining in spending to help cut debt, which stood at $25.9 billion at the end of last year. In addition to selling almost 50 percent of its agriculture unit for more than $3 billion this year, the company is weighing a sale of its Australian coal haulage assets, which may fetch more than A$1 billion ($769 million). Glencore is also selling a gold mine in Kazakhstan, people familiar with the plans said previously.

EMR Capital, a private equity firm led by former Rio Tinto Group executive Owen Hegarty, specializes in natural resources investments and manages the EMR Capital Resources Fund, according to its website. The firm has invested in assets including the Martabe gold mine in Indonesia and the Mount Gordon copper mine in Australia.

OZ Minerals Ltd., an Australian copper producer, was among suitors picked to make final offers for Cobar, people familiar with the matter said in April.

A spokesman for Glencore declined to comment. A representative for EMR Capital didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment. 

The Cobar mine in New South Wales state produces about 50,000 metric tons of copper concentrate a year, Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore said in October. The company has also said it is selling the Lomas Bayas open-pit mine in Chile, which produces about 75,000 tons of refined copper a year. 

Peter Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, is a non-executive director at Glencore.

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