Hedge fund Kyma Capital to take Vedanta dispute to U.S. regulators

LONDON, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Kyma Capital, founded by former Blackstone trader Akshay Shah, is set to complain to U.S. regulators in a dispute with Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal over nearly $1 billion in loans by Vedanta Limited to its parent company, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Kyma Capital, a London-based hedge fund that owns shares in Vedanta Limited, plans to lodge its complaint with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in February and seek repayment of four loans totalling $956 million made by Vedanta Limited via its overseas subsidiaries to parent Vedanta Resources.

Kyma wants this money repaid to Vedanta Limited and hopes to benefit from any subsequent boost in Vedanda Limited’s shares. Vedanta Resources is the vehicle through which Agarwal owns a 55.11% stake in mining group Vedanta Limited.

The loans were detailed in a Vedanta investor presentation in September last year, a document that was seen by Reuters.

A spokesperson who represents Vedanta Limited, Vedanta Resources and Agarwal in this matter declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

“Vedanta operates a good set of assets including one of the biggest zinc producers in the world and the sixth largest silver producer in the world. The debt at Vedanta Limited is sustainable,” said the source. “The trouble is what is happening at the shareholder level.”

Vedanta Limited, a natural resources company primarily manufacturing copper and aluminium as well as zinc and silver through subsidiaries, is listed in India on the National Stock Exchange.

It also has American Depositary Receipts listed on Nasdaq , thereby putting it under the SEC’s jurisdiction.

Shah’s Vedanta Limited shareholding is his first high-profile trade since he quit Blackstone and set up Kyma Capital.

Vedanta Limited’s share price fell 32% in early October last year after information about the loans came out in the investor presentation.

Kyma is going to the SEC to put additional pressure on Vedanta Limited’s board to get the loans repaid sooner and also because the SEC has a broad range of powers over companies it regulates, the source said.

In November, Kyma detailed its concerns in a regulatory filing over what it called the transfer of value from Vedanta Limited to its parent Vedanta Resources.

Just before this, the hedge fund had lodged a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Board of India and with Vedanta Limited’s board of directors.

The complaint to the Indian authorities has not yet resulted in any action, the source said.

Vedanta Limited’s shares have steadily climbed as Agarwal in January launched a process to increase his stake in Vedanta Limited through Vedanta Resources to 65.11% from 55.11% previously. He is looking to buy the stake at 160 rupees a share.

Vedanta Resources has around $1.9 billion of bonds maturing in the next two years, and has recently launched a consent solicitation to seek permission from bondholders to take on more debt. (Reporting by Abhinav Ramnarayan, Additional reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan in CHENNAI, Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Jane Merriman)