Yanzhou Coal Mining Co, China's fourth-largest coal producer, has offered to buy Australia's Whitehaven Coal Ltd, for more than $3.7 billion, according to a report published by the China Daily newspaper yesterday.
If successful, the buyout would be the largest for Yanzhou Coal after it acquired Australia's Felix Resources Ltd for $2.9 billion in 2009. (See: Yanzhou Coal to acquire Felix Resources for $2.9 billion)
Whitehaven had hired Goldman Sachs in October 2010 to run an auction and as many as 20 buyers had shown interest. Last month the Sydney-based coal miner said that Yanzhou and India's Aditya Birla Group are amongst the short-listed firms.
Among the other interested bidders for Whitehaven were Anil Dhirubhai Ambani-promoted Reliance Power, a consortium of Korea Resources Corporation and Daewoo, China's Shenhua Energy and China Coal.
ASX-listed Whitehaven is Australia's leading coal producer having an interest in tenements covering approximately 427kms in the Gunnedah, Werris and Ashford Coal Basins of New South Wales.
It currently operates four open cut mines in the Gunnedah Basin, each of which produces around 1.5 million tonnes every year. Most of the coal produced from all these mines is exported.