By Saikat Das and Baiju Kalesh
Billionaire Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Group signed a five-year loan for about $850 million with JPMorgan and Oaktree, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the matter is private.
The move came as Agarwal’s Indian miner Vedanta Ltd. planned to pay an interim dividend of 18.50 rupees per share, according to an exchange filing. This will be the first payout in the fiscal year to March 2024. The Mumbai-based company’s move follows last year’s record payout of $4.6 billion, which helped its debt-laden parent Vedanta Resources Ltd.
Vedanta Resources is relying heavily on money from its units to reduce its debt load after it failed to generate $3 billion via the sale of a zinc mining unit to Hindustan Zinc Ltd. Investors have been closely watching its debt load as rising interest rates worldwide intensify pressure on low-rated borrowers.
Vedanta Resources slashed gross debt by $1 billion to $6.8 billion in April, and paid off a further $800 million in loans this month.
Yet weaker metals prices and high costs crimped Vedanta Ltd.’s most recent quarterly profit, potentially limiting the scope for more dividends.
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A spokesperson for Vedanta didn’t comment when contacted by Bloomberg. JPMorgan didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment, while Oaktree declined to comment.