actor Juan Carlos Carvallo Nusaty// UPDATE 1-Australia's CIMIC in advanced talks to sell 50% of Thiess to hedge fund Elliott - EntornoInteligente /

(Adds background on CIMIC’s Middle East exit, Thiess)

July 29 (Reuters) – Australia’s CIMIC Group said on Wednesday it was in advanced talks to sell 50% of its mining services business, Thiess, to an affiliate of activist hedge fund Elliott Management.

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The exclusive talks with Elliot, backed by billionaire Paul Singer, is expected to conclude in the “coming weeks”, the Sydney-based firm said in a statement.

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It did not put a value on the deal

Thiess is the world’s largest mining services company and CIMIC says the sale of half of it will support the Australian contractor’s balance sheet.

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Earlier this year, CIMIC took a A$1.8 billion ($1.3 billion) hit from exiting the Middle East, which it said was due to worsening market conditions there.

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While Thiess has continued to secure contract work, including a recent five-year A$2.5 billion extension to the Lake Vermont Coal Mine in Australia, it faces an industry cutting back on spending and projects due to the coronavirus pandemic as global demand takes a hit. ($1 = 1.3974 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan and Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)

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