Thursday , June 13 2024

Vedanta weighs former Gold Fields CEO Griffith for top Africa base metals job

Vedanta Resources is considering appointing former Gold Fields boss and Anglo American executive Chris Griffith as head of its African base metals business, according to people familiar with the matter.

Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta owns zinc mines in South Africa and neighboring Namibia, which will form the base-metals portfolio with Zambia’s Konkola Copper Mines. Griffith quit as Gold Fields CEO in December after the company’s failed attempt to take over Canada’s Yamana Gold Inc. He previously headed the platinum and iron-ore businesses of Anglo American, in which Agarwal was once the biggest shareholder.

Talks are ongoing, and no final decisions have been made by either party on a possible appointment, said the people, who asked to remain anonymous as the information is private. A similar position was previously held by Deshnee Naidoo, who left to become CEO of Vale’s base metals business.

Vedanta declined to comment on a potential appointment.

Agarwal is also looking to separate some of Vedanta’s businesses and create independent companies in an effort to boost value for investors.

Last month, S&P Global Ratings revised its outlook on Vedanta’s B- speculative-grade rating to negative from stable, citing weakened access to cash flows from its Indian units and challenging external financing conditions. The miner has to repay about $2-billion of notes next year, a record annual amount for the company.

Last year, Vedanta agreed with Zambia’s government to try to reach an out of court deal over Konkola Copper, which has been under provisional liquidation for four years after the company clashed with the previous administration. Vedanta is close to regaining control of the assets, and has pledged to pay $250-million owed to suppliers and invest $1-billion in an expansion.

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