Fund set up by former Xstrata boss Mick Davis comes up short – by Martin Strydom (The Australian – December 28, 2016)

A fund set up by mining veteran Mick Davis to snap up bargains during the commodities downturn has spent more than £11m ($18.8m) on pay, rent and other costs over the past two years with nothing to show for it.

Three years after unveiling plans to build a “mid-tier diversified mining and metals group” and raising about $US5bn ($7bn) from private equity groups and sovereign wealth funds, X2 Resources has yet to strike a deal.

The accounts for the past two years show it has received £15.1m in advisory fees and spent £11.1m on administrative expenses. This includes £2.3m in office rent in central London.

The fund, whose nine staff received £2.1m in pay, spent £744,000 on travel and £293,000 on telephone calls, lost out to local groups when Rio Tinto offloaded its coal ¬operations in NSW, as it refocused on iron ore and copper.

It was also in talks with BHP Billiton when it was looking to offload assets such as manganese ore, alumina, coal, nickel and lead at the end of 2014, but BHP Billiton ¬decided to spin off the assets into a separate company, South32.

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