By Swansy Afonso
Hindustan Zinc Ltd. will pay 109.9 billion rupees ($1.3 billion) to its shareholders, a fourth dividend this year, which will help billionaire Anil Agarwal meet debt obligations at the parent company.
The Rajasthan-based miner will pay an interim dividend of 26 rupees per share, according to an exchange filing Tuesday. Key beneficiaries will be Agarwal’s Vedanta Ltd., which owns about 65% of Hindustan Zinc, and the Indian government that holds around 30%. London-based Vedanta Resources Ltd. is the ultimate holding company.
Disbursements for the year from all the four dividends total 319.13 billion rupees, according to Bloomberg calculations. For context, Hindustan Zinc gave only one dividend in the financial year prior to the current one and two dividends in the year before that. Indian companies typically announce dividends twice a year.
The extra inflow would bring some relief to Agarwal, who has been forced to rely more on dividends after the Indian government opposed his plan to sell the group’s international zinc operations to Hindustan Zinc for about $3 billion.
In order to soothe investor concern over the company’s liquidity and ability to repay upcoming obligations, Vedanta Resources has already slashed its net debt by $2 billion this year — half of its three-year planned reduction commitment, it said in February.