THE COLTON MINE PROJECT IN ALDERSHOT FRASER COAST IS UP FOR SALE
BILLIONAIRE Robert Millner’s coalminer, New Hope Corporation, up for sale with hopes of more than $5 billion, said while several third parties had been undertaking ”detailed due diligence” to acquire the company, there was yet no certainty of a deal.
Already this month media reports have highlighted a thinning number of buyers for New Hope, which is 60 per cent owned by listed conglomerate Washington H. Soul Pattinson, controlled by Mr Millner who is non-executive chairman of both companies.
Prospective Korean and Indian buyers have reportedly withdrawn, while China’s Yanzhou Coal is pursuing a $700 million merger with Gloucester Coal. Analysts are sceptical a deal will result.
New Hope gave its first earnings guidance for 2011-12 yesterday, indicating net profit for the six months to January 31 would be in the range of $96 million to 101 million, down about 75 per cent from the $407 million in the previous corresponding period, when New Hope sold Arrow Energy for $326 million.
After stripping out non-recurring items, the forecast first-half profit this year will be about 18-25 per cent higher than in 2011, driven by a stronger operational result with production volumes up 31 per cent to 3.2 million tonnes.
Meanwhile, Gloucester Coal said yesterday merger discussions with Yanzhou Coal were progressing to schedule and it would update the market next week. Gloucester blamed a weak export market for its reported interim net loss of $37 million, down from a $23 million a year ago, despite big rises in production and sales volumes. Gloucester said the market would remain weak for the rest of the financial year, particularly in metallurgical coal. It forecast EBITDA (excluding merger transaction costs) for the full year of between $45 million and $55 million in 2011-12.