Whitehaven Coal rejects mining magnate Nathan Tinkler's buyout proposal

Whitehaven Coal, Australia's second-biggest independent coal producer, yesterday rejected a buyout proposal form its biggest shareholder, mining magnate Nathan Tinkler, saying that the offer is too conditional.

Sydney-based Whitehaven, which is valued at around $4.4 billion and recently completed a $5.1-billion merger with Tinkler's Aston Resources, said that it had received an indicative, non-binding proposal from Tinkler Group Pty Ltd, an entity controlled by Tinkler.

"The proposal is highly conditional and incomplete and is not considered capable of being progressed at this time," Whitehaven said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

But the company added that there was a possibility a ''more complete'' proposal would emerge and established a committee of directors to look into any future offers.

The offer came after media speculation that Tinkler, who holds a 21.4 per cent stake in Whitehaven, was preparing to make a full-scale bid.

Tinkler became Whitehaven's largest shareholder when Whitehaven acquired Tinkler's Aston Resources and unlisted Boardwalk Resources. The deal created Australia's second-biggest coal producer, with output forecast to grow to 14.7 million tons by fiscal 2016 from 5.8 million this year.