Smelt to lift Verdanta profile

Indian mining firm Verdanta Resources has poached Aegon Asset Management head of global resources John Smelt as head of investor relations.

Smelt has joined the recently floated firm with a brief to boost its profile with the investment community, reporting to Verdanta finance director Peter Sydney-Smith.

Verdanta used Financial Dynamics to handle its stock market debut in December but last month hired Finsbury for its financial comms (PRWeek, 20 April). FD declined to pitch.

Sydney-Smith said: ‘We are new to London and came here to raise capital. We want a strong profile within the market and the industry.’

The company, which has operations in India, Tasmania and Australia, has a current market capitalisation of more than £900m.

Smelt has 16 years’ experience as an analyst, covering the mining sector in South Africa and the UK for the past seven years.

A key task is to reassure investors following a downgrading of Verdanta’s shares by City brokers, citing concerns over tariffs and workers’ challenges to India’s privatisation process. Shares were listed at 390p but stood at around 310p on 6 May.

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