Australia's new tax impacts on Peabody's decision: Opposition

16:54, May 10, 2010      

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U.S. coal giant Peabody Energy's decision to reduce its takeover bid for Macarthur Coal has highlighted the impact of the Australian federal government's 40 percent resources tax, Australian opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said on Monday.

"Here it is in real form, real money and real impact of the government's resources rent tax," Hockey told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

Hockey said that Treasurer Wayne Swan has claimed that it is all "huff and puff from (mining) billionaires" over the resources tax.

"But there are thousands of every day Australians with superannuation who may now receive less for their shares as a result of the government's resources tax," Hockey said.

Hockey also noted that Queensland Premier Anna Bligh was having doubts over the tax.

"It's about time Anna Bligh was fair dinkum with the people of Queensland about the impact of the tax on jobs," Hockey said.

"It is a message to the Rudd government that you can not impose a 9 billion dollars (8.1 billion U.S. dollars) a year new tax on an industry and expect there will be no impact on jobs or investment."

In a statement, Macarthur said a further proposal from Peabody would see shareholders receive 15 dollars (13.5 U.S. dollars) per share, which would value the target at 3.815 billion dollars (3.44 billion U.S. dollars), that compared with an earlier offer of 16 dollars (14.42 U.S. dollars) per share which valued the miner at 4. 069 billion dollars (3.668 billion U.S. dollars).

Since Peabody made their earlier offer on April 15, Macarthur's share price has fallen from 15.28 dollars (13.78 U.S. dollars) to Friday's closing price of 13.69 dollars (12.34 U.S. dollars).

The share price drop came after the federal government announced plans for a resources super profits tax, and a broader downturn in stocks in response to fears related to the Greek debt crisis.

Macarthur Coal is an independent Queensland-based coal mining company with operations located in Queensland's Bowen Basin. Macarthur Coal currently operates out of its Coppabella, Moorvale and Middlemount mines.

Queensland is a state of Australia that occupies the north- eastern section of the mainland continent.



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