Sunday, May 27, 2018
Mick Davis

Mick Davis

X2 Resources

THERE’S an inverse relationship at work in the global mining sector in which the shriller the panic the quieter Mick Davis falls. In March last year, Davis took funds under control at his X2 Resources to $5.6bn. Of this, $4bn was available for immediate drawdown – a signal of intent the fund would act with surgical accuracy should distress asset sale opportunities emerge. That Davis has not yet dealt in the market suggests, firstly, that sellers failed to adjust their valuations to the depth of the downturn; and secondly, the juiciest transactions will be with the liquidators of bankrupt companies. In the meantime, Davis continues to be associated with almost every troubled asset or company from South32 to Barrick Gold’s copper mines in Chile to Rio Tinto’s Australian coal assets. As with his rival, Ivan Glasenberg, Davis remains an optimist believing tomorrow’s supply deficit is being written in today’s pain. One footnote worth mentioning, however, is that X2 is not without its pressures. Speculation emerged in 2015 that X2’s investors were not married to mining. There’s also the question of whether Noble Group, which pledged $500m in investment in X2 on the back of a deal, can follow through given its credit rating concerns.

LIFE OF MICK

Born in Port Elizabeth, Davis attended Rhodes University where he read commerce. Then came the rapid corporate ascendency at Eskom, Billiton and Xstrata, which he ran until the acrimonious takeover by Glencore, a transaction in which he pocketed £75m. He is prominent in Jewish affairs and was made chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council in September, 2015. In June, he was knighted for his services related to holocaust commemoration and education.