Peabody Energy Corp. is leaving the door open for a rival bidder to step in for Macarthur Coal Ltd. by offering less for the Australian mining company than it did last year, even as profit is projected to double.
Macarthur Coal Ltd. , Whitehaven Coal Ltd. and Aquila Resources Ltd. may be Australian takeover targets for overseas suitors using cheap debt fueled by record- low U.S. interest rates, said Southern Cross Equities Ltd.
Noble Group Ltd. may be considering making a new approach to Macarthur Coal Ltd. as early as this week, the Australian Financial Review reported in its Street Talk column without saying where it got the information. A proposed deal that would have seen Noble become Macarthur’s largest shareholder was rejected by Noble shareholders. Macarthur is in talks with Peabody Energy Corp., which made a A$4.1 billion cash offer for the company.
Shares of Macarthur Coal Ltd., the target of a A$4.1 billion ($3.8 billion) bid from Peabody Energy Corp., fell by the most in 11 months on concerns an increase in Australian taxes will make the deal less likely to succeed.
Macarthur Coal Ltd. is “not inclined” to accept a discount in Peabody Energy Corp.’s takeover offer for a tax that may never be implemented, the Australian Financial Review reported, citing Macarthur Chairman Keith De Lacy. The proposed Australian tax on mining earnings makes it “difficult” to recommend Peabody’s lower bid, the newspaper said, citing De Lacy.