South32 debuts with $9 billion valuation
South32 debuts with $9 billion valuation

On Monday, BHP Billiton's spin-off South32 started trading with a market value of nearly $9 billion.

Australia's largest listing since 1998 houses BHP Billiton's former alumina, aluminium, manganese, nickel, silver and some coal assets.

The listing suggested that in order to convince the market that it can grow the assets that have long been neglected within BHP, South32 will need to do more.

Andrew Driscoll, an analyst with the brokerage firm CLSA, said , “Investors feel that they can be patient as they wait to learn a little more about the strategy, the assets and the potential for growth”.

South32 is valued at nearly $13 billion by some analysts. However, most were expecting early trading to be around $10 billion. Although some investors believe that the company has a potential takeover target, some analysts and fund managers said that is unlikely.

Rohan Walsh, a portfolio manager at Karara Capital said that there are not too many people who have that kind of cash. An offer for most of South32's assets was made by Mick Davis, the ex-boss of Xstrata previously. However, it was turned down.

Davis’ firm, X2 has raised $5.6 billion in capital. It is currently in a leading position to plunge if South32's shares slide. However, Davis would have to borrow around $10 billion in order to catch South32, including a premium.

South32's chief executive Graham Kerr said that their regional model will allow them to improve their productivity and performance in a sustainable way.

The shares began trading at A$2.13, compared to the A$2.00 to A$3.00 range forecast by analysts, and ended its first day at A$2.09. South32 will also trade on the London market and Johannesburg Stock Exchange.