Bottom Line: Mick the miner is ready to build

 
Elizabeth Fournier

IT MAY share its name with both a superhero movie sequel and a low-cost Nokia phone, but there’s only one thing that Mick Davis’ new venture looks like – Xstrata.


The former chief executive of the resources group, pushed out of the top job as part of a revised deal with merger partner Glencore earlier this year, has wasted no time in getting back on the scene.

He’s brought together old colleagues – Xstrata’s former finance chief Trevor Reid plus a couple of long-term advisers – and new money (with the prospect of more lined up) and positioned himself firmly in his former employer’s eyeline. But is Davis’ newer, younger model sleek enough to impress investors?

He’s certainly got form in turning something small into something very big. His decade at Xstrata saw it grow from a privately held minnow to a stock-market whale, pursuing big ticket deals until the group was worth more than £30bn.

But that was during the height of the commodities boom. Davis may know how to pick a winner, but even the best assets can’t create much value while they’re bumping along the bottom of a cycle.


For now his name and reputation have won him the benefit of investors’ doubts. The real test will come once he starts spending their money.