Chinese likely to be circling

Aussie targets

KATE EMERY, The West Australian June 1, 2010, 7:21 am

Paladin Energy is a company likely to be on China's radar because its biggest assets are overseas. Pictured is the company's Langer Heinrich uranium project in Namibia.NO COPYRIGHT / Paladin Energy ©

A sinking Australian dollar, global equity jitters and a surge in Chinese foreign reserves have put Australian acquisitions back on China’s agenda, analysts say.

Paladin Energy, PanAust and Aquarius Platinum top the list of takeover targets, according to Citigroup analysts. They say miners with offshore assets will be sought after because those with local projects could be hurt by the resource super profits tax and or adverse Foreign Investment Review Board rulings.

“Just as the GFC gave China an opportunity to bid for mining assets with little competition, we expect the global risk reduction sell-off and collapse in the Australian dollar to once again provide an opportunity,” Citi analysts said in a note to clients.

The Citi report echoes industry speculation that the proposed tax could hand Chinese interests a greater slice of Australian resources as other sources of funding dry up.

Chinese foreign exchange reserves surged to $US2.4 trillion in March, up 25 per cent year-on-year. On Citi’s numbers, it is estimated about 70 per cent of that is in US dollars, with the balance mostly in euros and Japanese yen.

The Australian dollar has fallen more than 9 per cent from this year’s high of US93.51¢. It closed yesterday at US84.78¢, down from Friday’s close of US85.09¢.

Paladin, PanAust and Aquarius were named at Citi’s top targets because they all own overseas assets, have no major potential blocking shareholder and are mining commodities that China is expected to be seeking: uranium, copper and platinum respectively.
Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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