Gloucester Coal set to be �gobbled up�

NEW South Wales miner Gloucester Coal entered a trading halt yesterday, pending the release of a “price sensitive announcement regarding its ownership”.

Staff Reporter

Shaw Stockbroking resource analyst John Colnan told International Longwall News that given Gloucester’s prime location in the Hunter Valley, it was no surprise that a takeover seemed imminent.

Colnan said the recent flurry of activity in the coal sector suggests that people are willing to pay good prices for coal assets – with the likes of CVRD, AMCI and Felix Resources already honing in on NSW assets.

Gloucester has two mining operations, Stratford and Duralie, both located in the Gloucester Basin and currently has several tenements under exploration.

“Time will tell who it is, but again, it is no surprise with Gloucester given where it’s situated in the Hunter Valley and the amount of corporate action that’s been occurring there,” he said.

“We value Gloucester at about $5.50, and whenever a company trades at a steep discount to valuation, typically what happens is a takeover bid comes to realise that value.”

Colnan said considering it is trading at around $3.50 Gloucester was certainly a good target for takeover.

“What we’re seeing is that if you come in under valuation for too long, corporately you get gobbled up.”

Colnan said while it could be one of a dozen parties, Western Australia-based Portman Mining had mentioned an interest in acquiring coal assets, along with Consolidated Minerals, which has expressed a desire to be involved in bulk commodities.

He said coal traders like Centennial Coal were also potential contenders for this kind of takeover.

In February, Queensland miner Macarthur Coal hinted that it was seeking possible acquisitions in many different locations, in Australia and overseas.

“If something comes along that looks good, we'll look at it," Macarthur CEO Nicole Hollows said.

The trading halt will stand until Tuesday April 10, or until the company makes an announcement.

Gloucester was trading up 8c (2.1%) late yesterday afternoon at $3.81.