Citic Group weighing options on Macarthur counterbid

HONG KONG Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:18am BST

A truck is loaded at Macarthur Coal's Coppabella mine located about 760km (472 miles) northwest of Brisbane in this undated handout photograph. REUTERS/Macarthur Coal/Handout

A truck is loaded at Macarthur Coal's Coppabella mine located about 760km (472 miles) northwest of Brisbane in this undated handout photograph.

Credit: Reuters/Macarthur Coal/Handout

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - Citic Group on Wednesday cracked open the possibility of a counterbid for Macarthur Coal MCC.AX, an Australian miner that received a $5 billion bid last week and counts the Chinese conglomerate as one of its shareholders.

"We are weighing all options," Tinghu Guo, managing director of Citic Australia, told Reuters, when asked if Citic was considering a counterbid for Macarthur. China's Citic Group owns a 24 percent stake in Macarthur.

"We are still looking at the situation. There is no decision yet," Guo added.

The MCC stake is held jointly by Citic Group and its Hong Kong-listed unit Citic Resources (1205.HK).

Last week, Peabody Energy (BTU.N) and ArcelorMittal (ISPA.AS) made a joint bid for MCC valuing the company at $5 billion.

Macarthur Coal shares rose 0.2 percent on Wednesday to A$15.50, matching the offer price and their highest close in over a year.

Macarthur was the subject of a three-way bidding war in 2010 when it agreed to talk with Peabody, the highest bidder with an A$16 per share offer. But talks collapsed after Peabody cut its offer when the center-left Labor government slapped a mining tax on coal and iron ore miners.

(Writing by Denny Thomas; Editing by Michael Flaherty and Jonathan Hopfner)

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