TORONTO, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Canadian miner Teck Resources Ltd wants to regain its investment-grade credit rating but expects it will need to reduce its debt by some $1.5 billion to $2 billion to achieve that goal, Chief Financial Officer Ron Millos said on Tuesday.
Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Teck, the world’s second-biggest exporter of metallurgical coal, to junk last September, blaming weak commodity prices and the company’s heavy capital spending.
Credit downgrades typically drive up the cost of borrowing for companies, as some big investors will only buy investment-grade bonds.
Reducing Teck’s debt by this margin will take “some time and improvement in commodity prices and proceeds from asset sales,” Millos said at the Mines and Money conference in Toronto.
The company has been working to reduce its debt, which stood at $6.97 billion at the end of June, down from $9.6 billion at the end of 2015.
Teck is working on putting some infrastructure assets, including the Waneta Dam and Ridley coal terminal in British Columbia, “into a position that if we get a price that makes sense for us we, would act on it,” Millos said. Such deals could be time consuming to close, he added.
Teck, which also mines zinc and copper, has several non-core exploration projects that it could sell. Those properties could generate “hundreds of millions of dollars”, but the current market is challenging, Millos said. (Reporting by Susan Taylor in Toronto; Writing by Nicole Mordant; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)