SYDNEY Feb 23 The first attempt at an
acquisition by Australia's South32 following its
spinoff from BHP Billiton has raised
competition concerns with regulators over control of the
domestic coking coal market.
Australia's chief competition regulator on Thursday said it
was concerned South32's proposed $200 million acquisition of
Peabody Energy's Metropolitan colliery in Australia
could curb competition in the supply of coking coal in the
The acquisition would also include a 16.67 percent stake in
a nearby coal terminal.
South32 would become the only large supplier of coking coal
to the eastern Illawarra steelmaking hub, the Australian
Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said in a preliminary
statement on Thursday.
South32 announced the deal with Peabody on Nov. 3, saying
the mine would work well with its existing
In a statement emailed to Reuters, South32 said it would
continue to engage with the ACCC and that it expected a final
decision from the regulator on April 6.
Australia's biggest steel producer and buyer of South32
coking coal, BlueScope Steel, did not immediately
South32 is a collection of smaller assets spun off from
mining giant BHP in 2015. Until recently it was openly pursuing
the remaining 40 percent of a manganese mining and smelting
business located in Australia and South Africa it jointly owns
with Anglo American.
South32 Chief Executive Graham Kerr this month said that his
company was still interested in Anglo American's stake at the
right price, but that the transaction was not seen as a
(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Joseph Radford)