Macarthur postpones EGM to talk with Peabody

Australia's Macarthur Coal yesterday postponed its Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to talk with Peabody Energy after the US coal miner raised its bid for the second time to $3.8 billion.

Commentators say even at this late stage, a surprise bid from Swiss miner Xstrata cannot be ruled out.

Queensland-based Macarthur, Australia's second-biggest coal miner and world's biggest supplier of pulverised coal to steel mills said in a statement today, ''Macarthur has considered Peabody's further proposal and intends to enter discussions with Peabody."

The board of Macarthur has also postponed its revised extraordinary general meeting scheduled for 19 April to a date, time and venue to be advised.

On 15 April Peabody Energy, the world's biggest independent coal miner had raised its offer once again by 14 per cent to A$16 a share valuing Macarthur at $3.8 billion. (See: Macarthur receives revised $3.8 billion bid from Peabody Energy)

Earlier Macarthur had refused to talk to Peabody or fellow rival New Hope Corporation on its $3.44-billion bid on the ground that their offers undervalued the company. (See: Macarthur Coal becomes hot property as more buyers enter fray)