Glencore to back Indonesia nickel miner Ceria Nugraha before IPO

12th June 2024

By: Bloomberg


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Indonesian nickel miner PT Ceria Nugraha Indotama is set to get backing from Glencore to build a battery metal plant ahead of an initial public offering planned for next year.

Glencore is in talks to take a 10% stake in the company through a pre-IPO fund-raise, and will assist in financing its high pressure acid leach plant, Ceria Nugraha CEO Derian Sakmiwata said in an interview on Wednesday. The world’s biggest commodities trader will also sign an offtake agreement to buy electric vehicle battery ingredients from the Indonesian firm, he said.

“We want to reach the global market,” Sakmiwata said on the sidelines of the Shanghai Metals Market conference in Jakarta. “Glencore is our bridge,” he said, adding that 20% of the company is being offered as part of the pre-IPO fund-raise.

Glencore didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The global miner and trader, headquartered in Switzerland, is stepping up its participation in the Indonesian nickel industry, which accounts for about half of world production. It’s also among companies eyeing a stake in miner PT Trimegah Bangun Persada, better known as Harita Nickel.

A ban on the export of raw ore in 2020 stimulated a massive wave of Chinese investment in nickel smelting in Indonesia that caused production to surge and benchmark prices to crash. Unusually, no Chinese firm has an equity stake in Ceria’s projects, although China ENFI Engineering has been contracted to build them.

It’s something the Indonesian firm — which owns the country’s fifth-largest nickel mine — wants to maintain for now so that its product will be eligible for subsidies linked to the US’s Inflation Reduction Act. While the exact rules around joint ventures remain unclear, it’s possible they could be excluded if too high a percentage is owned by a Chinese entity.

“We are not ruling out the Chinese, but we want our product to be acceptable in global markets,” Sakmiwata said.

Ceria Nugraha’s first smelter is due to be completed this year, and it’s planning $8-billion of investment in a series of processing plants that will produce nickel and cobalt chemicals used for EV batteries. Part of that will be funded by listing the company’s shares in an IPO next year.

Macquarie Group, BNP Paribas, and Mandiri Sekuritas have been appointed as advisers for the listing, Sakmiwata said. Before the IPO, the company will raise funds through private sales, including from Glencore, he said.

Edited by Bloomberg



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