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HANSON UNIT TO BUY COSTAIN'S AUSTRALIAN COAL OPERATIONS

 HANSON UNIT TO BUY COSTAIN'S AUSTRALIAN COAL OPERATIONS
 NEW YORK, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Lord White, chairman of Hanson Industries, the U.S. arm of Hanson PLC (NYSE: HAN), announced today that Hanson's Peabody Resources (U.K.) Limited unit has agreed to purchase the Australian coal operations of Costain Group PLC for U.S.$200 million cash and the assumption of debt approximating U.S.$102 million as of May 31, 1992.
 The price will be adjusted for any change in net assets between May 31, 1992 and closing. Net assets at May 31, 1992 were about U.S.$50 million.
 In the year to June 30, 1992, Costain's Australian coal operations' profits before tax were U.S.$33 million.
 Hanson's subsidiary Peabody Holding Company is the largest coal producer in the United States and second largest non-governmental coal producer in the world. The acquisition includes ownership or management of 663 million tons of low-sulfur coal reserves and resources including full or partial ownership of three Australian surface mines managed by Costain. Two of the mines are now operating and another is scheduled to begin production by early 1993. Completion of this transaction is subject to obtaining necessary government, shareholder and other approvals. "This is another step in Hanson's strategy of adding to our major businesses, one of which is coal mining," said David H. Clarke, deputy chairman and chief executive officer of Hanson Industries. "The Australian mining operations will significantly expand our international coal interests."
 "These Costain operations will provide the competitive, high quality coals needed to expand our sales into the Pacific Rim, expected to be the fastest growing coal market in the world," said Irl F. Engelhardt, president and CEO of Peabody Holding. "These operations have a good balance between Australian business committed under long-term sales contracts and international sales committed through joint venture arrangements."
 All mines to be acquired are located in the Hunter River Valley in New South Wales, Australia, and Costain's share of production was 4.9 million tons in the 12 months ended June 30, 1992. As the new Narama mine begins operations, Costain's portion of output for the year ending June 30, 1993 is forecast at 5.4 million tons.
 Peabody Holding, with headquarters in St. Louis, had 1991 revenues of $1.9 billion from sales of 92 million tons of coal. Ninety percent of its coal is used by U.S. electrical utilities, steel manufacturers and industrial plants, while 10 percent is sold to international customers. Its 28 mines are located throughout the United States. In July 1992, Peabody acquired a large underground mine and coal reserve in West Virginia. Hanson acquired Peabody in 1990.
 Hanson PLC is a British-American industrial management corporation. In the U.S.A., Hanson Industries' operations also include SCM Chemicals, Cavenham Forest Industries, Beazer, Jacuzzi, Grove Crane, Ames Tools, Endicott Johnson Footwear, Hanson Lighting Group, Kaiser Cement, Farberware Cookware, and Gold Fields Mining, among others. In the United Kingdom, Hanson's holdings include Imperial Tobacco, ARC Aggregates, London Brick, Butterley Brick, Beazer Homes and Smith Meters.
 -0- 10/20/92
 /CONTACT: Mickey Foster of Hanson Industries, 908-603-6977/
 (HAN) CO: Hanson Industries ST: New York IN: MNG SU: TNM


PS -- NY030 -- 2067 10/20/92 09:42 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 20, 1992
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