Mongolia looks to foreign IPOs for mineral wealth -WSJ

BEIJING, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Mongolia may eventually list state-owned mineral assets in international stock markets so that the country can convert more of its natural resource wealth into cash, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

Prime Minister Sukhbaatariin Batbold said that the poor, landlocked country is first studying the creation of three companies -- one for mining assets, another for energy assets and a third for infrastructure holdings.

The government would then look to float shares in these companies in London, New York or Hong Kong, before bringing them to Mongolia's domestic stock market, he said.

"People ask the question, 'why we are sitting here, sitting on our mineral resources doing nothing, whilst others do get the benefits of these resources by bringing them to the international financial markets, especially the foreign companies,'" Batbold told the Wall Street Journal.

He said those companies were "doing a good promotion of Mongolia," but "now is a good time to think about our own approach, our own move to the international financial market."

Just before Batbold took office in October, Mongolia signed a landmark investment agreement with Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO) and Rio Tinto (RIO.L)(RIO.AX) to develop the Oyu Tolgoi deposit in the Gobi desert, a project that will help the Mongolian state meet its budgetary commitments once it is producing copper and gold. [ID:nN07155420]

Mongolia, with less than 3 million people to China's 1.3 billion, is struggling to be more than a raw materials supplier to its giant neighbour.

It was hit hard by the global financial crisis, as plunging metals prices last year dried up state revenues while repayment of bank loans to the booming construction sector slowed to a crawl.

Investors have seen the Oyu Tolgoi agreement, signed this month, as a watershed, setting a precedent for other resource deals after over three years of uncertainty and wrangling over minerals investment laws. (Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Valerie Lee)

Source:Reuters, Wall Street Journal
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