Sesa shareholders cast vote on restructuring
The restructuring, if approved, will lead to Vedanta's debt burden falling by about 61 percent to $3.8 billion.
Panaji: Shareholders of iron ore miner Sesa Goa cast votes in Panaji today on the proposed merger of Sterlite Industries and other group companies of Vedanta Resources with itself and the result will be known on 25 June.
The merger, which is aimed at simplifying the Vedanta group's structure and cutting costs, requires approval of 75 percent or more shareholders to become effective.
A senior company official said that some shareholders posed tough questions to Sesa Goa Board at the extra-ordinary general body meeting.
"The questions were largely on most of Vedanta's debt burden, estimated at $9 billion, being passed on to the new entity, Sesa Sterlite. Questions on valuations and operations of Vedanta Aluminium were also raised," the official said.
A company spokesperson declined to comment on the deliberations held today.
A similar exercise will be executed by shareholders of Sterlite Industries on 21 June in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, to approved its merger into Sesa Goa.
However, shares of both the group firms were down in the late afternoon trade on the buzz that the restructuring will not go through. While Sesa Goa shares were trading down 3.01 percent at Rs 177 apiece on the BSE, Sterlite scrip was down 1.98 percent at Rs 94 at 1500 hours.
On 25 February, London Stock Exchange-listed Vedanta Resources had announced to restructure its operations. As per this, Vedanta's all subsidiaries, except Konkola Copper Mines, will be merged into Sesa Goa and post-restructuring, a new entity, Sesa Sterlite, will be carved out.
The restructuring, if approved, will lead to Vedanta's debt burden falling by about 61 percent to $3.8 billion. Besides, its debt service liability will come down to $180 million from current levels of $500 million.
However, Sesa Sterlite would end up with a total debt of about $14 billion.
The merger would create seventh largest natural resources company of the world (in terms of EBITDA) and a cost saving of Rs 1,000 crore annually, Vedanta had said earlier.
This is second restructuring exercise being attempted by the Vedanta Resources as its first attempt in 2008 had failed due to objections raised by some minority shareholders over valuation of a group firm, Konkola Copper Mines.
Post merger, Vedanta will hold 58.3 percent stake in Sesa Sterlite. As per the scheme of arrangements, Sterlite shareholders will get three shares of Sesa Goa for every five shares held according to the swap ratio.
Cairn India, Hindustan Zinc, Balco, Vedanta Aluminium, Madras Aluminium, Talwandi Sabo Power and Australian Copper Mines will become subsidiaries of Sesa Sterlite after the restructuring.
With this move, Vedanta will be a clear beneficiary as they can pass-on debt-laden Vedanta Aluminium to Sesa Sterlite.
As against market expectation of Cairn's stake being transferred to Sterlite, the parent group has instead transferred the 38.8 percent stake to Sesa Goa, which will now have the burden of servicing the debt.
To reduce debt, Vedanta is offloading 38.8 percent of Cairn to Sterlite and also merging cash cow Sesa Goa with it. Will this strategy work?