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Friday, 9 April 2010

New Hope Bids for Macarthur, Battling Peabody, Noble

Why? Why? Why?

Why are people so scare of Noble becoming  Macarthur’s largest shareholder?

By Rebecca Keenan

April 9 (Bloomberg) -- New Hope Corp. Ltd., an Australian coal producer, offered A$3.71 billion ($3.4 billion) in shares to buy Macarthur Coal Ltd., higher than a rival bid from Peabody Energy Corp.

New Hope offered 2.7 of its shares for every 1 of Macarthur’s, valuing Macarthur at A$14.58 per share, the Ipswich, Queensland-based company said today in a statement. Peabody raised its initial offer to A$14 a share this week. Macarthur closed yesterday at A$14.36.

New Hope joins Noble Group Ltd. in battling Peabody for Macarthur after shipments of coal to China last year tripled and prices doubled. China’s imports of coal used to make steel are forecast to rise 5.6 percent to 38 million metric tons this year, according to a Macquarie Group Ltd. forecast.

Both the New Hope and Peabody bids are conditional on Macarthur dropping a planned all-share takeover of Noble’s Gloucester Coal Ltd. that would see Noble become Macarthur’s largest shareholder.

Combining New Hope and Macarthur would create a coal company with a market capitalization of more than A$8 billion, New Hope said. It is being advised by Pitt Capital Partners.

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