15/12/2010 - 09:23

Indian group buys Griffin Coal

15/12/2010 - 09:23

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Indian infrastructure group Lanco Infratech has emerged as the winning bidder for the Collie coal business of Ric Stowe's failed Griffin coal and power empire.

Indian group buys Griffin Coal

Indian infrastructure group Lanco Infratech has emerged as the winning bidder for the Collie coal business of Ric Stowe's failed Griffin coal and power empire.

KordaMentha, which was appointed administrator of the Griffin business when it collapsed in January, today said Lanco had agreed to to buy the assets of Griffin Coal for an undisclosed sum.

The sale includes the Collie coal mines of Griffin, which produced over 4 million tonnes of steaming coal in 2010, but does not include Griffin's Bluewaters power stations.

Lanco is a leading infrastructure player in India, and is listed on the National Stock Exchange of India and the Bombay Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of more than $3 billion.

KordaMentha said Lanco currently operates power generation assets with a total output in excess of 2,000 megawatts and is developing projects with a total power output in excess of 13,000 MW.

Brian McMaster of KordaMentha said: "Griffin Coal is a major contributor to the South-West economy and currently employs over 400 people. Lanco's ownership is expected to bring substantial investment as a result of the expansion of the mine operations and associated infrastructure".

Lanco finance chief Suresh Kumar said the Griffin acquisition was a sign of the company's commitment to Australia as part of its global expansion strategy.

"The acquisition of Griffin Coal is an important component of our development strategy, providing increased fuel security for our current power generation assets and future power portfolio expansions. This acquisition also presents an opportunity to Lanco to participate in the burgeoning natural resources trading market.

"We are committed to expanding Griffin Coal's export capacity and making a significant contribution to the Collie community and South-West region more broadly. We are excited about the future prospects for both Griffin Coal and all its stakeholders."

UBS and Macquarie Capital Advisers acted as financial advisers to KordaMentha in relation to the sale process.

Five groups submitted bids for the Griffin assets earlier this month, including fellow Indian conglomerate GVK, and offers from Chinese and Japanese groups.

Griffin collapsed in January with total debts estimated at up to $1 billion, after it failed to make a $25 million interest payment to bondholders owed over $530 million.

The missed payment, partly caused by the later than expected start-up of the Bluewaters II power station, triggered a wholesale collapse of Mr Stowe's coal and power businesses.

Buyers are still being sought for the power assets, which are owned but not operated by the Griffin Coal Mining Company, including the Bluewaters I and II coal fired power stations (together with approvals to build two more generation units) and the Emu Downs wind farm near Cervantes.

The power assets are operated by a separate Griffin business, which is not in administration.

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