News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Coal M&A predicted to rise as prices slump and growth projects prove difficult; Bradken open to offers again as Chilean merger fails to spark; and WA chills as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue cut $20B spending.

Lou Caruana

Coal M&A predicted to rise as prices slump and growth projects prove difficult

Consolidation is set to sweep Australia's struggling coal sector over the next 6-12 months, as diversified majors lose patience with depressed coal prices and companies choose M&A instead of navigating a political and environmental minefield to develop new projects, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Ernst & Young transactions partner Paul Murphy says Australian coal will follow the run of M&A in gold, the only sector that has demonstrated an appetite for growth, by consolidating at the mid-tier level.

Bradken open to offers again as Chilean merger fails to spark

Chilean company Sigdo Koppers and its consortium partner CHAMP Private Equity have failed to cement a merger deal with ailing mining services company Bradken during a 60-day exclusivity period which expired on Sunday night, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Bradken managing director Brian Hodges wouldn't comment on the speculation on Sunday, but he did say the string of corporate overtures from outsiders in the past 13 months had been frustrating to deal with at the same time as Bradken heavily restructured its own operations in response to a sharp downturn in the mining cycle.

WA chills as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue cut $20b spending

A dramatic $20 billion cut in operational spending by the nation's three biggest iron ore miners is chilling a West Australian economy already under stress from falling investment in resources-related construction, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Analysis reveals that since 2012, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group have cut the amount they spend on extracting resources by $US14.3 billion ($A19.9 billion).

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