Vedanta Resources to buy back bonds worth $500 million

Metals and mining conglomerate Vedanta Resources will repurchase in cash bonds worth USD 500 million (about Rs 3,300 crore) out of its outstanding USD 1.13 billion convertible bonds due in July this year.

PTI| Last Updated: Jan 13, 2016, 19:02 PM IST

London: Metals and mining conglomerate Vedanta Resources will repurchase in cash bonds worth USD 500 million (about Rs 3,300 crore) out of its outstanding USD 1.13 billion convertible bonds due in July this year.

Global ratings agency Moody's said that while the repurchase cannot be treated as a distressed exchange, additional discounted note repurchases may be treated as one.

Earlier this week, the firm with businesses ranging from metals to oil said it "proposes to purchase up to USD 500 million in aggregate principal amount outstanding of bonds" on the terms and subject to the conditions in the Tender Offer Memorandum.

The London Stock Exchange-listed firm said it's inviting holders of the outstanding bonds to tender them for purchase for cash at a price to be determined pursuant to a modified Dutch auction.

This is a type of auction in which the price on an item is lowered until it gets a bid.

The offer commenced on January 11 and will close on January 18.

On Vedanta's offer, Moody's Investors Service said the tender offer on convertible bonds maturing in July 2016 is unlikely to be treated as a "distressed exchange".

However, the agency's final treatment of the offer will depend on the settlement price, which will be clear when the offer closes on January 18.

Moody's sees the contemplated deal as "an opportunistic buyback" since the issue of default avoidance is currently unclear, pending the emergence of clarity on the purchase price, says Moody's Vice-President and Senior Analyst Kaustubh Chaubal.

"However, a distressed exchange could materialise if the note-holder losses exceed current expectations, estimated based on current market prices."

Vedanta Resources has not indicated any further buybacks, Chaubal said, adding that "additional discounted note repurchases may be treated as a distressed exchange when viewed in combination with the current proposed transaction".

Although the offer does not affect Vedanta Resources' rating, the agency said persistent weakening in energy and metals prices since November 2015 has added to the pressure.

The offer impacts only around 3 percent of Vedanta Resources' total outstanding debt, it said.

The offer will be conducted as a modified Dutch auction and allows the company to increase or decrease the offer amount, Moody's added.

"The tender offer will be funded from the term loan raised at Vedanta Resources Plc and the funds received through the part repayment of an inter-company loan by Vedanta Ltd," it added.

The JP Morgan Securities and Standard Chartered Bank are acting as dealer managers for the offer.