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'We have support of US government, unions on Asarco'

Press Trust Of India  |  New Delhi 

NRI billionaire Anil Agarwal-led today said it would not offer more than the already announced $1.87 billion to buy bankrupt American mining firm Asarco but is confident that it can clinch the deal with the support of the and the trade unions.

“We will not increase our bid in any circumstances. We believe we are well-placed. The is with us, the trade union is with us,” Chairman told PTI in an interview on the phone.

Vedanta Resources, flagship firm Sterlite Industries, had last month raised its bid for Asarco by $170 million to $1.87 billion, even as Grupo Mexico has offered $3.1 billion to regain control of the ailing mining firm.

If the Asarco bid is lost, Agarwal said he will look for other opportunities. “At any point if someone takes Asarco at a higher price, we will not regret it,” he added.

A US-based fund house Harbinger Capital Partners is also in the race for Asarco with its $500 million plan.

The interim management of Asarco in March authorised Sterlite Industries to match the competing bid and also gave the Vedanta firm the right to claim break-up fees if its offer falls through.

Sterlite Industries had on Thursday raised about Rs 7,000 crore from the American market, part of which will be used to fund acquisitions.

Sterlite, the Indian subsidiary of London-listed Vedanta Resources, has been negotiating the Asarco deal since last year.

It had initially offered $2.6 billion for buying the assets of the company. However, with the devaluation of mining assets and falling copper prices amid the global economic downturn, Sterlite lowered its bid to $2.1 billion last year and then further to $1.7 billion before hiking it to $1.87 billion.

First Published: Mon, July 20 2009. 00:21 IST