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India's Mundra wins Australian coal port for $2 bn.

Summary: MUMBAI -- India's biggest private port operator, Mundra, on Tuesday acquired Australia's Abbot Point Coal Terminal, bidding $2 billion in a move that will more than double its cargo handling capacity.

MUMBAI -- India's biggest private port operator, Mundra, on Tuesday acquired Australia's Abbot Point Coal Terminal, bidding $2 billion in a move that will more than double its cargo handling capacity.

IThe all-cash deal was the largest overseas acquisition by an Indian port company and will sharply increase Mundra's balance sheet size, as well as help the firm ship coal from Australia to feed India's fast-growing economy.

Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone Ltd outbid unnamed international firms in a six month auction, the Adani Group conglomerate which owns Mundra Port said in a statement.

"Mundra Port gets into a different league with this acquisition. It more than doubles its present balance sheet size and adds a 50 million tonnes capacity," the company said.

The Abbot Point Coal Terminal, in Queensland, is Australia's most northern port, a mechanised port that can load 50 million tonnes a year.

"We now have an international footprint with Abbot which will boost synergy with other businesses of the group," Gautam Adani, chairman of the Adani Group, said in the statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The company added the deal marked the start of Mundra Port's business expansion outside India.

Adani, the largest importer and supplier of coal in India, which also has mining rights in Indonesia and Australia, signed the deal with the Queensland government.

The group, which operates two ports at Mundra and Dahej in the western Indian state of Gujarat, had bid for a 99-year lease for the coal terminal, which is owned by North Queensland Bulk Ports Corp.

Mundra currently handles over 50 million tonnes of cargo.

The Adani Group, whose interests span commodity trading to infrastructure, said it plans to expand Abbot's capacity to 80 million tonnes but did not disclose a timeframe.

The Abbot Point Coal Terminal, which serves coal mines in northern Queensland, is near Adani's recently acquired mines in the Galilee basin.

Abbot is expected to post revenues of $120 million in the current calendar year, a figure forecast to nearly triple by 2016, the Adani Group said.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:May 3, 2011
Words:387
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