Brazil's Batista Courts New EBX Investor, Plans Coal Stake Sale
05/25/2012| 03:00pm US/Eastern
--Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista courts new investor for EBX group
--Batista plans to sell 30% stake in Colombia coal venture CCX
--Morgan Stanley has been hired to negotiate CCX equity stake sale
(Updates to include Batista's comments in the fourth paragraph and CCX's CEO comments in the eighth paragraph.)
By Rogerio Jelmayer
Brazilian billionaire businessman Eike Batista said Friday he is courting another potential investor for his sprawling business conglomerate, EBX Group, and is also looking to sell an equity stake in his new coal venture.
More partners are looking to invest in EBX, and one investor group in particular, which might be from Asia, is expected to invest around $500 million, Batista told reporters during an event to mark the listing of the new coal venture, CCX.
On Thursday, General Electric Co. (>> General Electric Company) said it would invest $300 million for a 0.8% stake in EBX Group, becoming only the second investor to participate directly in Batista's main holding company. In March, Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development Co. invested $2 billion for a 5.63% stake in EBX.
"After Mubadala showed faith in our project, and also after all the due diligence which GE has done, that helps reinforce the confidence of investors in us and also to attract more [investors]," Batista said.
Friday saw the first day of trading of shares in CCX Carvao da Colombia SA (CCXC3.BR), a company that has coal interests in Colombia and was spun off from the group's electric power firm, MPX Energia SA (MPXE3.BR).
Batista said he plans to sell a 30% stake in CCX to a strategic investor, and he has hired Morgan Stanley to manage the deal. He said he is in no hurry to sell and the deal could take six to 12 months to complete.
Batista said CCX is worth $4 billion, and the plan is to list the firm's shares on the stock exchange in Colombia as well.
According to Leonardo Moretzsohn, CCX's chief executive, the sale would help fund planned investments. "A partner will help us to raise money for our ambitious project to invest $4 billion through 2017," said Moretzsohn.
Meanwhile, Batista distanced himself from previous plans to set up an auto maker in Brazil. He said Brazil now has 15 auto makers, and there probably isn't enough room for a new player.
Shares in MPX were up 8.1% at 35.24 Brazilian reais ($17.67), reflecting the coal-asset spinoff. Shares in CCX were up 4.12% at BRL8.85.
-By Rogerio Jelmayer, Dow Jones Newswires; +55 11 3544 7071; email@example.com