(Adds detail on base metals IPO, possible asset sale)
By Luciano Costa
SAO PAULO, June 24 (Reuters) - Brazilian miner Vale SA could raise about $1.5 billion through the sale of a stake in one of its Brazil-based assets, a senior executive said on Wednesday.
Vale, the world’s largest producer of iron ore, is scrambling to raise cash to shore up its finances in the midst of a price slump in the raw material. The transaction could be completed by the third quarter, Rogério Nogueira, head of investor relations, said at an event in São Paulo.
Nogueira also said Vale was considering selling between 25 percent and 30 percent of its base metals division in an initial public offering. The figure is a reduction from the 30 percent to 40 percent the miner said in December it was considering selling.
Vale has said it will take a decision on whether to go ahead with the IPO at the end of the year, but that approving the move is dependent on a recovery in nickel prices. Such a recovery has remained illusive with nickel down 30 percent in the last year to $12,760 a tonne.
Chief Financial Officer Luciano Siani told Reuters in December the IPO would only go ahead with a nickel price above $20,000 a tonne.
After a halving of the iron ore price since last year and high capital expenditure as it builds a massive new iron ore mine in the Amazon, Vale has a funding shortfall for this year and next. The miner has said it does not plan to increase its debt level and will raise the cash through asset sales.
Nogueira declined to elaborate on the type of asset in Brazil that could be sold. More likely assets are fertilizers, where Vale has said it is looking for a partner, and rail and port logistics, which banking sources have said are a good sale option.
At the same event Nogueira said Vale was working to cut its level of investment, with the company’s current forecast between $8 billion and $9 billion for 2015.
That range is a possible reduction from a presentation published earlier this month, when Vale said it expected to invest $9 billion this year. It is also down from the $10.2 billion forecast given in December 2014. Much of that reduction has come from a weaker Brazilian real. (Writing by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, W Simon and Alan Crosby)