UPDATE 2-Brazil's Vale says mulling spinoff of base metals unit stake

Tue Dec 2, 2014 2:06pm EST
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(Adds size of potential stake, detail)

By Lucas Iberico Lozada

NEW YORK Dec 2 (Reuters) - Brazil's Vale SA said on Thursday it is considering the sale of a minority stake in its base metals unit in an initial public offering, as it looks to raise funds for key projects in the midst of sliding commodity prices.

Chief Executive Murilo Ferreira told investors in New York that Vale is considering selling 30 percent to 40 percent of the division, which some analysts have valued at between $28 billion and $35 billion.

Ferreira said the company was in discussions with investors and that if the IPO went ahead it would likely first be listed in Toronto, confirming a Reuters story published late Monday.

Ferreira said the IPO would only happen if market conditions were "satisfied," and would not be sold at "any price." Vale will decide whether to go ahead with the IPO by August 2015.

The world's largest mining companies are shedding non-core assets in order to weather an era of lower prices caused by a glut in supply and slowing demand growth in key consumer China.

Vale's profit margins have suffered with the price of iron ore .IO62-CNI=SI, which tends to account for over 80 percent of the miner's profits, down by half this year to $69.70 per tonne.

UBS estimates that it costs Vale $67 to produce a tonne of iron ore and get it to China, a tight squeeze as the company looks to complete its $20 billion Brazilian iron ore project known as S11D.   Continued...