Peabody and ArcelorMittal make $5bn bid for Australian coal giant

ARCELORMITTAL and US mining giant Peabody Energy have made a A$4.68bn (£3bn) joint-offer for Australia’s Macarthur Coal, the world’s biggest producer of pulverised coal, as the demand for raw materials used making steel intensifies.

The cash offer of A$15.50 a share represents a 40 per cent premium to yesterday’s close and comes just a day after Australia unveiled plans to tax carbon emissions from some of the country’s worst polluters.

“The board makes no recommendation in relation to the indicative proposal but will seek to engage with Peabody and ArcelorMittal in relation to the price and terms,” Macarthur said in a statement.

In May last year, Macarthur rejected a A$15 a share bid from Peabody, calling it too low. The US mining group had reduced its initial offer of A$16 after the center-left Labor government considered imposing a tax on coal and iron-ore miners.

Australia’s carbon tax has failed to discourage Peabody this time around as it seeks to increase its Australian presence.

The carbon levy of A$23 per tonne will affect some 500 companies, including Rio Tinto, which voiced its disappointment saying that the policy would threaten investment and jobs growth.

Meanwhile, shares in International Power were buoyed by the proposal after the electricity firm said it stands to gain from the carbon tax scheme.

Macarthur shares closed down 2.8 per cent, at $11.08 yesterday.