Australian Coal Assets Are Overpriced, AMCI’s Mende Says

AMCI Capital LP, a private equity investor in coal, iron ore and base metals, said Australia’s coal assets are expensive, making acquisitions challenging.

“We’re always looking but it’s difficult,” Hans Mende, president of Greenwich, Connecticut-based AMCI, told reporters today in Sydney. “Australian assets are overpriced.”

AMCI owns stakes in Australian resources companies, including Aquila Resources Ltd. and Whitehaven Coal Ltd. AMCI held shares in Felix Resources Ltd., which China’s Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. Ltd. bought in 2009 for A$3.5 billion ($3.7 billion).

AMCI isn’t interested in buying Australia’s New Hope Corp., a coal producer with mines in Queensland state that last month said it’s starting a formal process for sale after receiving several offers.

“Our business model is basically greenfield development,” Mende said.

AMCI is an equal partner with Aquila in the A$5.2 billion West Pilbara Iron Ore Project that includes a mine and port development to ship the steelmaking ingredient from Western Australia’s Pilbara region. Aquila is selling two projects and is seeking to raise $2 billion in debt to help pay for its share in the venture.

“I believe Aquila will get their funding for their share,” Mende said.

Aquila rose 3.9 percent to A$6.07 at 1:41 p.m. in Sydney trading.

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