Australia’s EMR Capital raises $860 mln for mining deals: Reuters

Australian private equity firm EMR Capital has raised $860 million for its second fund, as it looks for more investments in copper, gold, potash and coking coal, the firm said on Wednesday.

EMR Capital, founded by ex-OZ Minerals boss Owen Hegarty, said the fund mainly attracted North American investors and was oversubscribed, as was the company’s first fund, which raised $450 million last year.

“We are actually looking at quite a few things at the moment,” said Chief Executive Jason Chang said, adding that EMR was seeing more assets available now than two years ago.

EMR is keen to snap up copper assets given strong demand for the metal in China and India. It has looked at Glencore Plc’s Cobar copper mine in Australia, among others, Chang said.

“And we love Australia. Anything in copper in Australia we’d like to look at. So we’re looking at a range of different things,” he said.
“That’s one of the reasons for the rapid establishment of Fund II, because I think investors agree with us that there’s a universe of interesting opportunities that we’re seeing across all four commodities.”

He said the firm would also be interested in looking at Wesfarmer’s Curragh coking coal mine in Australia “if it’s high quality coking coal”. Wesfarmers said on Wednesday that it could put its Curragh and Bengalla coal mines on the block.

He said the recent spike in coking coal and other commodity prices was making vendors hold back on asset sales, but EMR Capital had a 10- to 12-year timeframe for its fund, so would be patient on acquiring assets.

“We have some runway and we are very confident we can deploy (our fund) in the right timeframe,” Chang said.

The firm sees now as a good time for private funds to invest in copper, gold, coking coal and potash as capital for publicly listed companies had dried up with the earlier collapse in commodity prices, Chang told Reuters in an interview last week.

Its first fund has invested in six assets, including the Martabe gold mine in Indonesia, a coking coal mine in Britain, a copper mine in Australia and Chile, and potash projects in Spain and the United States.