Whitehaven ripe for takeover offer

WHITEHAVEN Coal is the cheapest Australia-based coal producer versus book value and is ripe for a takeover, according to recent data on the New South Wales company.
Whitehaven ripe for takeover offer Whitehaven ripe for takeover offer Whitehaven ripe for takeover offer Whitehaven ripe for takeover offer Whitehaven ripe for takeover offer

The shearer at Whitehaven Coal's Narrabri longwall mine in New South Wales.

Lou Caruana

Data compiled by Bloomberg shows Whitehaven’s value relative to its net assets has halved since 19.4% shareholder Nathan Tinkler began preparing an aborted bid in August.

The company is looking more attractive as coal prices start to rebound after a steep plunge, while its plans to double production by the end of this fiscal year appear to be on track with NSW government approval of its Maules Creek thermal coal project in the Gunnedah Basin.

Commissioning problems at its Narrabri longwall have been ironed out and the company is awaiting final clearance for the $651 million Maules Creek project from federal Environment Minister Tony Burke.

A buyer would need to pay a $900,000 premium to its current $3.5 billion market capitalisation, which is lower than Tinkler’s $5.3 billion bid, according to Wilson HTM Investment Group.

Possible suitors for the company included Chinese giants Yanzhou Coal Mining Co and China Shenhua Energy Company, Investec and Patersons Securities said.

With its shares at $3.37, Whitehaven was trading at 1.01 times book value, Bloomberg says.

Shenhua would be an obvious player for Whitehaven because its Watermark project is nearby in the NSW Liverpool Plains.

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