In the end, why X2 Resources failed was a blessing and a curse. When former Xstrata PLC chief executive Mick Davis launched his billion-dollar private equity firm during the commodities downturn in 2013, there was excitement that X2 would make big acquisitions and give cash-strapped miners a lifeline.
Mr. Davis and his elite team of former mining executives amassed up to US$5.6-billion – an unprecedented amount that reflected investor confidence in X2’s future.
But with financial heft came the expectation that the deals would be huge. And no one knew whether metal prices had hit rock bottom. “That was both its strength and also the challenge for it.
You need to be very, very confident to deploy very large amounts of capital when you are really at the bottom of the cycle,” Andrew Latham, one of X2’s founding partners, told reporters Tuesday on the sidelines of a mining conference in Toronto.
“You need to be very brave and very confident. And I think for all of us, be it the management team or for the investor group, that’s really where the challenge lay.” Backed by big investors, including Canadian pension funds, the London-based X2 planned to buy distressed mines and projects to create a new mining company.