FTSE-100 stalwart Anglo American has put the $1bn international assets of Scaw Metals up for sale as the mining sector leads the recent deal boom.
Advisers Goldman Sachs and UBS have set the deadline for first-round bids on the steel maker's international operations of early next month in the latest phase of Anglo American's reorganisation programme. Anglo's chief executive, Cynthia Carroll, announced a refocus on what are considered core businesses, such as platinum and diamonds, last year and has already sold the company's zinc assets to FTSE-100 peer Vedanta for more than $1.3bn in May.
Scaw's main South African operations are not on the block, but its other assets in areas such as Canada and Australia are going. A leading mining banker said: "These assets are going to attract six or seven financial sponsors [private equity bidders] and I think they could fetch around $1bn."
The mining sector is already buzzing as market leader BHP Billiton tries to purchase Canada's fertiliser giant, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, for $39bn. Bill Doyle, PotashCorp's president and chief executive, believes that this wildly undervalues the company.
There is speculation that a rival bidder from China could emerge. Mining bankers from leading firms not already working for BHP and PotashCorp are undestood to have recently visited China to see if they can drum up business.
Bankers are thought to have met both Sinochem and China BlueChemical, another fertiliser firm. Both are thought to be interested in making a bid for PotashCorp.