Aquila to be swallowed

BAOSTEEL Resources and Aurizon Holdings have reached more than a 90% interest in Aquila Resources and will move to compulsory acquisition.
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The Eagle Downs project area. Courtesy Aquila Resources.

Kristie Batten

The bidders took just a week to get from 28% to 90% with shareholders prompted to accept the $A3.40 per share offer after Aquila founder and executive Tony Poli accepted the bid on Thursday for his 29% stake.

Rival bidder Mineral Resources also accepted the offer last week for its recently acquired 12.9% stake, dimming any hope of a superior offer.

Baosteel and Aurizon will now pick up the shares they do not already own and de-list Aquila from the Australian Securities Exchange.

"We are delighted with the overwhelming support we have received from Aquila shareholders for the offer and look forward to working with Aurizon, state and federal governments, and Aquila's joint venture partners to progress the development of the West Pilbara iron ore project and the Eagle Downs hard coking coal project, for the benefit of both Australia and China,” Baosteel chairman Zhihao Dai said.

Aurizon managing director and CEO Lance Hockridge said the acquisition represented an unprecedented opportunity to participate in the development of new rail and port infrastructure.

“The Baosteel-Aurizon co-investment model has the scale, strength and infrastructure development expertise to unlock under-developed Australian resource projects and deliver new investment, jobs and regional wealth, and royalty streams for government,” he said.

The offer will close on July 25.