International scramble for Macarthur

SOUTH Korean steelmaker Posco jumped into the Macarthur Coal fray yesterday securing a 10% stake in the coal miner following India’s ArcelorMittal with its 5% stake hike in Macarthur over the weekend.
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Courtesy Macarthur Coal.

Vivienne Ryan

Posco, one of the world’s biggest steel companies, joined the international collection of steel companies on Macarthur’s share registry spending $A420 million for shares at a market premium of $A20 a share.

The move comes at a time of soaring coal prices and a tightening coal supply as Macarthur's pulverised coal injection (PCI) production becomes increasingly desirable to international steelmakers. China’s Citic Group already has an 18% holding in Macarthur.

ArcelorMittal on Sunday upped its stake to 19.5% when it bought 5% from Talbot Group Holdings at $A20 a share and brought its total investment in Macarthur to $A843 million.

The purchase is still subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

ArcelorMittal’s move followed talks last week which were speculated to end in a proposal for Macarthur, but ended with no deal being offered.

Last week Talbot resigned from the Macarthur board to give himself "greater flexibility to fully deal" with his remaining 19.76% stake in Macarthur, which with ArcelorMittal's and Posco’s latest purchases has been slashed.

Macarthur shares ended their booming financial year closing at A$16.87 yesterday after reaching a high of A$19.60.

In the past year Macarthur traded at a low of A$5.15 and hit a high of A$21.21.

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