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Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Noble says to get US$440 mln in Gloucester merger

LONDON - Singapore-listed commodity trader Noble Group will vote all its shares in Australia's Gloucester Coal in favour of a merger with Yancoal Australia and will get A$412 million (US$440 million) under the deal terms.
On completion of the merger, Yancoal is expected to be the largest independent listed Australian coal miner, Noble, which owns nearly two-thirds of Gloucester, said on Tuesday.

China's Yanzhou Coal Mining Company Limited, Yancoal's majority owner, has a clearly stated aim of growing its Australian mining business.

Yanzhou bought Australian miner Felix Resources in 2009 for A$3.3 billion and was required to float at least 30 per cent of the business by 2012.

Noble Group will own approximately 13.2 per cent of Yancoal, and William Randall, Noble director and Head of Hard Commodities, will join the Yancoal board of directors.

Gloucester produced 5 million tonnes of coal in 2011 but plans to expand substantially over the next decade, while Yancoal exported 8.1 million tonnes in 2010.

Commenting on the merger, Noble Group chairman, Richard Elman said: 'Creation of scale and flexibility is increasingly important in commodity production. Yancoal will have a multi-product, multi-mine operation of scale, which is extremely well positioned to deliver value to shareholders.'

Under the final agreement terms, shareholders in Sydney-based Gloucester will own 22 per cent of Yancoal and China's Yanzhou Coal Mining Company Limited will own 78 per cent.

Separate to the merger, eligible Gloucester shareholders will receive A$3.15 cash per Gloucester share.

The Gloucester board has also unanimously recommended shareholders vote for the merger.

Shares in Gloucester leapt in December after Yanzhou announced its intention to merge in a A$700 million deal .

Noble, whose businesses range from cotton and sugar to coal and iron ore, earned US$106 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 for a full-year profit of US$431 million, but like many traders it suffered from volatile markets and poor processing margins. -- REUTERS

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