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$2.25 Billion Purchase of Aston by Whitehaven Creates Largest Publicly Traded Coal Company in Australia

The $2.25 billion buyout by Whitehaven Coal (ASX: WHC) of Aston Resources (ASX: AZT) will create the largest independent publicly traded coal company in Australia. Besides Aston, which is owned by Nathan Tinkler, Whitehaven also agreed to buy Boardwalk Resources for $499.8 million.

With the purchase, Whitehaven gains control of Maules Creek steelmaking coal project in New South Wales and hike production to 25 million metric tonnes of coal per annum by 2015 from 4.2 million tonnes in 2010. The boost in production is because of growing demand from India and China.

Aston purchased Maules Creek from Rio Tinto in 2010. It is near Whitehaven's mines in NSW.

Whitehaven bought Aston at $11 per stock, which is 13 per cent higher than the latter's closing price on Dec. 9.

"The merged entity becomes one of Australia's leading independent coal producers with a high quality portfolio of producing mines, major development projects and attractive exploration assets, Whitehaven Chairman John Conde said in a statement.

"I believe the merged entity will represent an extremely attractive investment of scale in the rapidly consolidating Australian listed coat sector," Mr Tinkler, chairman of Aston said.

In November, Peabody Energy of the U.S. bought Australian mining firm Macarthur Coal for $4.9 billion. For the year there were 80 coal deals that involved Australian firms. Australia is the world's biggest coal exporter with a value of $11.4 billion, up from 2010'2 $9.44 billion, Bloomberg reports.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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