China's Meijin Energy outbids Jindal again for Australia's Rocklands

The battle to acquire Australian coke producer and explorer Rocklands Richfield by the $8-billion Jindal group intensified today when China's Meijin Energy Group raised its offer to A$197.2 million from its previous A$154 million. 

Perth-based Rocklands said in a statement today that Meijin Energy has raised its 2 November offer from A$0.52 cents per share to A$0.56 cents a share, valuing the company at A$197.2 million and Jindal Steel & Power has until 7:30 pm Perth time tomorrow to revise its proposal and match Meijin's latest offer.

"Shareholders should note that, at this stage, neither the Jindal proposal nor the Meijin proposal are formal offers capable of being submitted to shareholders for their consideration," it added.

New Delhi-based Jindal Steel, which already holds 14.2 per cent in Rocklands, had made a friendly offer on 23 September to acquire the remaining stake for A$0.42 per share, valuing the company at $121.1 million.

Rocklands Richfield had tentatively agreed to the Jindal deal and company chairman Benny Wu, who is also the majority shareholder, agreed to sell his 9.9 per cent as well as recommend the takeover deal to the board.

But, the Essar Group, a leading global player in steel, energy, power and communications, launched a counterbid for Rocklands on 6 October with an offer of A$0.50 per share, valuing the company at $128.5 million. Its offer was conditional on gaining a majority 60-per cent stake of Rocklands. (See: Essar and Jindal in bidding war for Australian coal producer Rocklands)