Shareholder Anil Agarwal offers mining giant Anglo help to expand in India

Anglo American Plc’s biggest shareholder, billionaire Anil Agarwal, has offered to help the mining giant expand into India.

“That’s a big market for them,” Agarwal said in an interview in Lusaka. “I am going to help them if they need to open up that market for them to work there.”

The mining tycoon wasn’t explicit about whether he wanted to assist Anglo with increasing sales to India or to start operating mines there. Currently Anglo has no operational presence in the world’s second-most populous nation, although most of the diamonds its De Beers unit sells are cut and polished in the country.

Agarwal surprised Anglo’s management last year when he took a 21 per cent stake in the company. The structure of the purchase, done via a mandatory exchange bond issued by a family company, effectively means he rents the shares until the bond matures in 2020.

The shares have rallied since he took control of them in two tranches last year.

“I think I have been proven right and I am very pleased that the share price has increased,” said Agarwal, who also controls miner Vedanta Resources Plc. “I am also appreciating management, management is doing extremely good work.”

Since Agarwal doesn’t benefit much from a rising stock price, analysts have speculated that he might take an activist role in the blue-chip miner. In 2016, Agarwal proposed a tie-up between Anglo and the zinc unit of Vedanta, and he said last year the combination would have been a good match.

Agarwal, who’s repeatedly said he’s not an activist investor, continued to stick to that message.

“At the moment I am very happy with the stake,” he said.

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