Vale SA (ADR)(NYSE:VALE) will stop new investments in low-return divisions like its nickel business. Fabio Schvarstman, the CEO, expressed that he anticipates nickel prices to recuperate over the medium term, as there is an increase in demand for the metal. He anticipates Vale’s share discount to its competitors to reduce in the coming period, as the firm moves to a single class of stock.
Vale has received proposals to buy an interest in its New Caledonia nickel segment as CEO Schvartsman looks to refurbish underperforming assets. The firm is seeking an associate at one of the world’s leading nickel operations to assist finance investments in the distant Pacific island like new tailings dam. Popular as VNC, the complex has been faced by high costs and technical difficulties. The company stated that they have just obtained proposals from bidders, and the process continues.
Nickel prices have jumped 38% in the preceding six months, as investors look for commodities that will gain from a rise in rechargeable-battery demand. In marketing VNC, the firm had been targeting entities in the battery supply chain like China’s Gem Co. Talks with Gem Co. to acquire nearly 25% to 30% of VNC have mired and Vale may now be planning to sell a smaller stake, probably as part of a streaming or off-take deal an end user or trader.
In its emailed response, the company didn’t list the bidders as well as gave no comment when questioned about discussions with Gem Co. While nickel prices have surged in 2017, they are still around 75% below a 2007 peak. With Vale striving to repay a debt load of $21 billion, management is assessing its least profitable assets. The firm has indicated it will consider closing VNC if the associate search yields no result, a move that would be attacked by authorities in New Caledonia.