Xstrata’s Former Chief Gets Back to Mining

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The former CEO of mining company Xstrata has a new venture to keep him busy. Mick Davis has brought together his former management team, all of whom had to go job hunting after the massive Glencore-Xstrata merger closed last May.

The new mining company is called X2 Resources and, according to the company’s announcement, it will “seek value creating opportunities in the mining and metals sector.” There are plenty of opportunities out there as the big miners like Glencore Xstrata, Anglo American, Rio Tinto PLC (NYSE: RIO), BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP) and others are shedding assets — or trying to. There do not appear to be a lot of buyers, and those that exist know how badly the sellers want to get rid of marginal assets.

X2 Resources has acquired $500 million in backing from private equity firm TPG, plus another $500 million from commodities trading house Noble Group. The company’s announcement outlines its strategy:

The X2 Resources investment proposition is to create a new mid-tier diversified mining and metals group by leveraging the extensive track record of the X2 Team in identifying and acquiring assets and businesses at an opportune time in the cycle and applying their proven approach to integration and value enhancement to the resulting portfolio of operations.

Now $1 billion is not a lot of cash in the mining business, but over a period of 10 years Davis built Xstrata in much the same fashion.

Davis and the former Xstrata executives had to do something. The original merger deal with Glencore offered a retention bonus package of around $270 million for the execs. Shareholders saw that as a giveaway and voted against the package.