UPDATE 4-POSCO in $404 mln Macarthur deal, rivals Arcelor

lunedì 30 giugno 2008 10:40

(Adds background, updates shares)

By Miyoung Kim

SEOUL, June 30 (Reuters) - South Korea's POSCO said it would buy 10 percent of Macarthur Coal for $404 million, becoming the third overseas investor to hold a major stake in the Australian miner, in a move that could block any takeover of the company.

POSCO (005490.KS: Quotazione), the world's No.4 steel firm, said on Monday it had agreed to buy the stake in Macarthur Coal MCC.AX from the Australian group's founder and major shareholder Ken Talbot for A$20 per share, paying around A$420 million, to secure a steady supply of coal.

The price is an 11 percent premium to Macarthur's closing share price of A$18 on Friday.

The deal follows news at the weekend that top world steel maker ArcelorMittal ISPA.AS raised its stake in Macarthur, which supplies steel mills with more than a third of the world's pulverised coal, to 19.9 percent -- the most allowed in Australia before a firm must make a full takeover bid.

Arcelor also paid A$20 per share, bringing its total investment in Macarthur to A$843 million.

Posco and ArcelorMittal join China's CITIC Resources Holdings (1205.HK: Quotazione) as the company's top three shareholders, as overseas steel makers vie for large stakes in a growing number of Australian coal and iron ore miners in hopes of securing long-term raw material supplies.

Shares in Macarthur fell more than 6 percent as the purchases were seen as probably blocking any takeover.   Continua...