Billionaire Agarwal Increases Stake in Anglo American to 19%

  • Agarwal’s Volcan is now Anglo American’s biggest shareholder
  • Mining tycoon has said he won’t be an activist investor

Anil Agarwal

Photographer: Halden Krog/Bloomberg

Billionaire Anil Agarwal has increased his stake in Anglo American Plc to 19 percent, making him the biggest shareholder in the London blue-chip mining company.

Agarwal’s Volcan Holdings Plc bought 102.2 million shares in Anglo, according to a regulatory filing Friday. The Indian billionaire, who said last month that he planned to buy as much as 1.5 billion pounds ($2 billion) of the stock, paid an average of 14.68 pounds, based on that maximum target amount.

Anglo shares traded at 14.65 pounds on Friday. Volcan already had 160.7 million shares, according to an April filing.

Agarwal’s stake makes him biggest investor, ahead of South Africa’s Public Investment Corp. The billionaire has said the investment is in a personal capacity and that he has no plans to act as an activist, though he amassed his stake through a mandatory exchangeable bond issued by Volcan. The structure effectively means he rents the shares until the bond matures in 2020 and doesn’t benefit much from a rising stock price, leading analysts to speculate that he might be planning to force a break up of or a merger.

Agarwal has a controlling stake in Vedanta Resources Plc, which in turn controls Vedanta Ltd. and Hindustan Zinc Ltd. After a failed approach to merge Hindustan Zinc with Anglo last year, Agarwal said the combination was a “good match” and that “one and one wasn’t going to be two, but 11.”

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