Walter swells as rumors clash

A NEW report has thrown cold water on increasing speculation about a BHP Billiton takeover of Walter Energy – but the Alabama miner maintains investor interest.
Walter swells as rumors clash Walter swells as rumors clash Walter swells as rumors clash Walter swells as rumors clash Walter swells as rumors clash

Jim Walter's No. 7 operation in Alabama.

Justin Niessner

Delaware-based financial media outlet Benzinga cited an anonymous source yesterday as saying that BHP had no intention to acquire Walter.

This followed an unsubstantiated report on Wednesday by the UK’s Daily Mail that said BHP could offer $55 a share for the company.

But while conflicting rumors lead us no closer to the true nature of the situation, the speculation has had an undeniable short-term impact on Walter’s market standing and reputation as a highly eligible takeover target.

In higher-than-usual trading yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange, Walter gained another 5% to close at $33.35.

It began the week 12% lower at $29.70.

Investor interest in Walter and its perception as an undervalued company has been supported by recent industry commentary hinting at a rebound in metallurgical coal markets.

Walter’s Jim Walter Resources is the largest coal mining company in Alabama, a state which counts two-thirds of its coal reserves as high-grade metallurgical.

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