Australian thermal coal miner New Hope invites bids

New Hope Corp on Wednesday said that it is putting itself up for sale after being approached by several suitors, sending the Australian thermal coal miner's market value up by 15 per cent to nearly A$5.1 billion ($4.8 billion).

New Hope, Australia's second-largest listed coal miner by output, said that it will conduct a formal process and invite selected parties to submit bids, which may or may not result in a proposal being made or recommended by the board.

The Brisbane-based company did not reveal how many offers it had received but did say that the potential buyers were both local and overseas companies.

New Hope, which has A$1.5 billion in cash on its balance sheet and reported net income of $503.1 million last year, is an independent, energy company having open cut mines at Acland on the Darling Downs and at Rosewood near Ipswich.

The company focuses on niche marketing of its thermal coal and exports around 65 per cent of its coal production to Asia Pacific markets including Japan, Korea and Chile and the remaining to customers in south-east Queensland.

The company also holds various exploration tenements in central and southern Queensland.  New Hope also holds a 100-per cent shareholding a coal export terminal at the Port of Brisbane with capacity of 10 million mt/year, and significant land holdings around Ipswich and near its mining operations at Acland.