(Repeats with no change to text)
By James Regan and Anjuli Davies
SYDNEY/LONDON Oct 13 Anglo American is
expected to finalise a $1 billion-plus sale of its Australian
coal assets to a group headed by private equity group Apollo
Global Management in the coming weeks, three sources
with knowledge of the deal said.
"Anglo American and Apollo entered into a two-week
exclusivity period due to expire next week," said one of the
sources in continuous contact with advisers to the deal. "We
think it is going to go to Apollo next week."
Another source, however, said it would still be weeks before
any deal is finalised.
Anglo American in Australia declined to comment. Apollo did
not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reuters previously reported that major mining firms BHP
Billiton and Glencore as well as suitors from China, Japan and
India were looking at the assets.
Anglo American, like its peers, is selling off assets after
a prolonged commodities slump left it with too much debt.
Chief Executive Mark Cutifani has said the company will
focus on three commodities -- copper, diamonds and platinum.
Selling assets has taken longer than expected as a strong
recovery in coal and other commodities this year has reduced
pressure on miners to sell, while increasing pressure from
shareholders to achieve the best price.
Peabody Energy Corp and Nippon Steel
this week set the fourth quarter metallurgical coal contract
benchmark at $200 a tonne, more than twice the price of the
Analysts and the sources who spoke to Reuters on condition
of anonymity said, however, that Anglo's divestment strategy was
still in place.
"Cutifani and Anglo are 100 percent committed to the sale,"
one source said.
Anglo American said in February that discussions were under
way to divest its Moranbah and Grosvenor coal mines in
Queensland state as part of its plans to sell $3-4 billion of
assets this year. The process is being run by Bank of America
Reuters reported exclusively in August that Apollo had
teamed up with private equity firm Riverstone Holdings and
Pennsylvania coal exporter Xcoal Energy & Resources, and was the
"BHP and Mitsubishi offered between $1.1 and $1.2 billion in
cash and the Apollo consortium offered slightly more but faced
funding issues that are now being worked out."
Anti-competition concerns that could have slowed or killed a
sale to BHP, was also a major factor in Apollo's favour, the
"The other issue around BHP was that virtually every
Japanese coal customer was massively opposed to a BHP
acquisition and prepared to fight it," the source said.
(Additional reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Ruth