MAC: Mines and Communities

I wasn't too greedy says head of Vedanta

Published by MAC on 2004-07-30

I wasn't too greedy says head of Vedanta

By Alistair Osborne, Daily Telegraph


The chief executive of Indian mining company Vedanta Resources yesterday denied he had been too greedy when he floated the company in London last year.

Anil Agarwal, who owns 53pc of the group, said: "We are delivering on time the results we said we would deliver. That's what's in our hands. The float was a very long process that took almost a year, with 150 bankers, engineers and accountants coming to India. The price was set by the market."

The shares were floated at 390p last December, when Vedanta raised £507m, but have never been above that price, yesterday closing at 285.5p, up 5.5p.

Before the float, shares in its main Bombay-listed arm, Sterlite Industries, shot up in thin trading.

Mr Agarwal was speaking after Vedanta's first annual meeting, attended by a dozen shareholders, none of whom asked about the share price.

Chairman Michael Fowle was asked if Vedanta would get a "transfer fee" for allowing previous chairman Brian Gilbertson, who was paid £7m at the float, to move to rival Russian miner Sual. "Transfer fees have not yet hit the City of London," he replied. Otherwise, he said: "It was a jolly boring meeting like all the best meetings." There was a protest vote by a fifth of the minority shareholders against the re-election of director Naresh Chandra, who is 69.

Outside the meeting, campaigners protested against the construction of a bauxite refinery in Orissa, India, on land that is sacred to local tribes.

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