UMC 0.00% $1.30 united minerals corporation nl

itochu on the lookout for io

  1. uio
    285 Posts.
    FYI - i believe Itochu currently mines iron ore in the Pilbara with BHP. Would be an ideal partner not as subject to the volatility of Chinese demand and with a history of successful partnerships with Aus companies?

    Itochu, the Japan-listed trading company, is actively considering investing in iron ore in Australia, an insider said. The Japanese company will continue to actively consider iron ore investments in Australia, which is a strategic country for Itochu, the insider said. He declined to elaborate on possible targets or potential deal size.
    The Japanese group's Australian subsidiary Itochu Minerals & Energy of Australia signed on 29 September 2008 a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Western Desert Resources to set up an AUD 15m (USD 9.6m) joint venture to develop iron ore sources.
    A number of listed Australian iron ore companies have previously been reported by this newswire as interested in approaches or selling a stake. Bruce McQuitty, managing director of Warwick Resources, a listed Australian iron ore miner with a market cap of AUD 15.15m (USD 9.41m), told this newswire that it was "interested in other companies taking a stake in us."
    The iron ore company Flinders Mines (market cap AUD 52.15m) "has had previous approaches from Chinese companies," and would further consider approaches after November 2008, MD Kevin Wills said. Red Hill Iron (AUD 91.61m) and Centrex Metals (AUD 41.58m), two listed Australian iron ore explorers, both said that they were interesting companies and possible targets. The explorer Maximus Resources (AUD 9.35m) also told this newswire that it could consider selling a stake, and was earlier reported by this newswire to be an attractive target.
    When an unnamed Australian analyst was contacted, he said that without knowing Itochu's strategy in depth, it appears that it would be more interested in larger companies, such as the ASX listed miner Aquila Resources. He went on to say that Aquila had been looking at strategic options for its iron ore and coal, and that Itochu might be interested in those operations. When asked if smaller exploration companies such as Flinders and Centrex may be on Itochu's radar, the analyst stated that there is a lot of smaller companies out there looking for funding and they could be considered.
    Itochu's last substantial investment in iron ore was for USD 101m to expand production at the West Australian Iron Ore operations venture run jointly with Mitsui and BHP Billiton. The deal was announced in early February 2008.
    The collapsing share prices of Australian mining companies present an excellent opportunity for Itochu and other Japanese trading companies, said Michael Wheatley, an analyst for Deutsche Bank Securities. The Japanese trading companies boast strong cashflow and balance sheets, putting them in a strong position compared with potential bidding rivals, he said.
    In addition, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation will help underwrite and finance deals that will help secure natural resources for Japan, other analysts pointed out. As a result, Itochu should not have any problem financing deals despite the credit crisis, they said.
    Itochu's "identifiable energy, minerals and metals assets" increased 17% to USD 9.1bn in the fiscal year ending March 2008. Itochu's market capitalization is JPY 664bn (USD 7bn).
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